An ArcelorMittal plant. Picture: ROBERT TSHABALALA
An ArcelorMittal plant. Picture: ROBERT TSHABALALA

Mumbai — ArcelorMittal has agreed to pay off loans for two group companies in India to be eligible to bid for the indebted Essar Steel India as the steel maker seeks a foothold in a market that is poised to be the second-biggest producer of the alloy.

The firm approved payment of 74.69-billion rupees ($1bn) to creditors of Uttam Galva Steels and KSS Petron, ArcelorMittal said on Wednesday.

India’s supreme court had asked Arcelor and a rival consortium, Numetal, to clear dues in group companies by Thursday to be deemed eligible bidders for Essar. Numetal declined to comment on payment by the deadline.

A failure to clear the dues will make Numetal ineligible, paving the way for Arcelor to emerge as the preferred bidder, unless the lenders call for fresh bids.