株主が、王様になるべきか?

話の舞台はフランス、ベルギー、そしてルクセンブルクである。しかし、実のところ全ヨーロッパに関わる話であり、そして経済の観点からは、全世界をも巻き込む。世界最大の製鉄会社ミタル(Mittal)が、当初は敵対的買収TOB(株式公開買い付け) であった買い付けを通して、世界第二のアルセロル(Arcelor)の管理権取得に成功したのだ。

これは単なる友好的買収ではなく、ビジネスおよび社会モデルの間に起きた衝突である。アルセロルは、元来フランスとルクセンベルクの会社だが、現在では圧倒的にベルギーのものであり、ブラジルに強力な基盤を持ち、世界の大部分で営業している。最も複雑な使用のためにデザインされた、高品質の特殊鉄鋼製品に特化する。これらの高品質製品は、中~長期契約に基づき、主に長年の顧客に購入される。アルセロルは、世界で最も古い製鉄業者のひとつであり、非常に投機的な世界鉄鋼市場への依存はごくわずかで、その従業員は(平均すると)高い水準と安定性を持つ。

ミタルの方はと言えば、無から湧いて出た複合企業で、わずか20年の間に、世界トップクラスの製鉄会社となった。これは世界中の製鉄工場をあざやかに合併整理・合理化したことによって達成された。社長はインド人だが、インドに工場は持っていない。ミタルは主に東欧に基盤を置いているが、アジア(韓国)やラテンアメリカにおける存在も強大である。

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