Steel Mills

Trump would oppose USS/Nippon merger: Report

Written by Laura Miller

If reelected in the November presidential election, Donald Trump said he would block the sale of U.S. Steel to Japan’s Nippon Steel Corp. (NSC).

According to a Jan. 31 Bloomberg report, the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nominee told reporters in Washington, “I would block it instantaneously. Absolutely.

“We saved the steel industry. Now, U.S. Steel is being bought by Japan. So terrible, but yeah, we want to bring jobs back to the country,” he said further.

NSC told Bloomberg in an email that it will continue talking with stakeholders, including the government, to gain approval for the sale.

Analyst response

Trump’s comments caused Wolfe Research to change its view to “a lower probability of a favorable or timely Committee on Foreign Investment in the US (CFIUS) review.”

“Under a Trump win, it’s possible but unlikely the Biden administration’s CFIUS approves the deal on its way out. After Trump is inaugurated, appointments take a while, and this could cause Nippon to abandon the bid and pay the $565-million termination fee,” Timna Tanners, managing director of equity research for Wolfe Research, said in a research note sent to SMU.

Tanners also noted that “CFIUS could oppose the deal, and Nippon/X could appeal the decision to court and maybe win, although there’s been limited precedent for litigation.”

Trump’s 10% import tax?

Several speakers at this year’s Tampa Steel Conference commented on Trump’s recent remarks that if reelected in November, he would impose a 10% tariff across the board on all imports into the US.

While it may just be rhetoric, Citi metals and mining analyst Alex Hacking pointed out that in the past, Trump’s rhetoric turned into policy: “On the last go around, he did a lot of the things he said he was going to do.”

Tanners said a 10% import tax “could send all forecasts wrong and higher.”

“A Trump victory would be good for the steel sector,” Hacking added.

Laura Miller

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