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German/UAE group buys Indian chrome plant GMR

HAMBURG: German metals group Cronimet said it bought with a group of unnamed Dubai-based investors a 70.5 percent shareholding in Indian ferro chromium producer GMR Ferro Alloys & Industries Ltd.

The seller was India's GMR Group and no price was given.

Privately-owned Cronimet said in a statement approval from Indian competition authorities had already been received.

GMR Ferro Alloys, based in Tekkali Mandal in India's Andhra Pradesh, produces about 27,500 tonnes of ferro chromium annually, Cronimet said.

About 75 percent of output is exported to Europe, China, Japan and South Korea.

Cronimet said the move continued its international expansion strategy.

The group has global operations in recycling of steel alloy scrap and trading of ferro-alloys and chromium nickel alloys plus a wide range of other metals largely focused on the stainless steel industry.

It has 50 locations worldwide and handled 1.05 million tonnes of metal sales in 2007 generating turnover of 3.2 billion euros in 2007.

A consortium headed by Cronimet in April this year acquired the mining rights to a chrome ore deposit in the Bushfeld geographical complex in South Africa.

Privately-owned Cronimet plans to start South African chrome ore mining by the end of 2008 and hopes 2009 ore production will reach 400,000 tonnes.

In 2004, the group bought a majority shareholding in Armenian copper mine Zangezur Copper and Molybdenum Combine which it has been steadily expanding under a $60 million investment programme.

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