Heavy Metal Merger

Three men, six interlocking hands, one mother of a steel company. That's the image Jos Ramn Alvarez Rendueles, Joseph Kinsch and Francis Mer presented in Brussels last week when they announced that the three companies they manage—Spain's Aceralia, Luxembourg's Arbed and France's Usinor—were forging one $30 billion-a-year monster that will crank out 46 million tons of steel in 2002. The new company, which has yet to be named, will be the world's largest, dwarfing the previous No. 1, Japan's Nippon Steel, which turned out 28 million tons last year.

Steel share prices across Europe immediately jumped on hopes...

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