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Fletcher Applies To Acquire Steel & Tube

STOCK EXCHANGE LISTINGS: NEW ZEALAND (FLB), AUSTRALIA (FLCBS), NEW YORK (FLB).

FLETCHER CHALLENGE BUILDING APPLIES
FOR CLEARANCE TO ACQUIRE STEEL & TUBE

AUCKLAND, 16 February 2001 – Fletcher Challenge Building has lodged with the Commerce Commission an application for a clearance to acquire up to 100 per cent of the shares in steel merchant and processor Steel & Tube Holdings Limited.

The application was made in the name of Fletcher Challenge Building’s steel division, Fletcher Steel Limited. The Commerce Commission approved a similar application in December 1999. The clearance granted was valid for 12 months and expired in December 2000.

Fletcher Challenge Building did not acquire Steel & Tube shares during that period partly because of BHP’s decision to withdraw from sale its 50.01 per cent stake in Steel & Tube, and partly because of volatility within the Australasian steel industry.

Restructuring in Australia during the past 12 months has resulted in the spin-off of BHP’s long products division as a new entity, OneSteel, which now holds what was formerly BHP’s stake in Steel & Tube. Ongoing realignments and consolidations mean that Fletcher Challenge Building is keen to retain its options.

Fletcher Challenge Building anticipates that a clearance will be granted, as no significant changes have occurred in New Zealand market shares since the Commerce Commission approved a similar application 14 months ago.

Brian Wignall, Group General Manager of Fletcher Steel Limited, said: “If anything, competition has increased in the relevant market sectors.”

Fletcher Steel Limited encompasses a diverse range of steel businesses, including Pacific Steel, Pacific Wire, Fletcher Easysteel, Dimond, Cyclone and Fletcher Reinforcing.

Ends

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