ArcelorMittal sells shipping stake in drive to cut debt

FILE PHOTO: Workers stand near the logo of ArcelorMittal, the world's largest producer of steel, at the steel plant in Ghent, Belgium, July 7, 2016. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir/File Photo

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - ArcelorMittal MT.AS, the world's largest steelmaker, has agreed to sell a 50% stake in its shipping business, the first step in its plan to offload $2 billion (1.5 billion pounds) of assets by the middle of 2021 to reduce its debt

The company, whose net debt stood at $10.7 billion at the end of September, said on Monday the sale of the stake in Global Chartering Ltd (GCL) to DryLog Ltd would cut its debt by $530 million. It has a target to pull it below $7 billion.

ArcelorMittal said it expected to close the deal before the end of this year.

GCL operates 28 dry cargo vessels, 25 of which are on long-term leases and three owned outright, and will continue to handle a share of ArcelorMittal’s shipments.

Drylog is a subsidiary of Greek shipping company Ceres.

Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop; Editing by David Clarke