Arcelor Mittal is merging a unit that makes steel for the auto industry with Noble International, Ltd., a U.S. laser welder, in return for a 40% stake in the business and $300 million.

Arcelor Mittal is merging a unit that makes steel for the auto industry with Noble International, Ltd., a U.S. laser welder, in return for a 40% stake in the business and $300 million. The transaction will combine Arcelor's laser-welded tailored blank business TBA - the largest in Europe - with Noble, North America's largest producer of laser-welded steel products. Arcelor Mittal said the deal should close in March 2007.

Warren, Mich.-based Noble has more than 2,000 workers at 12 plants and expects revenue to reach $600 million in 2006. Just this month it bought Pullman Industries Inc., which makes steel tubular parts for carmakers. Combining expected results for 2006, the Arcelor-Noble business would have revenue of $1.1 billion.