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Steel giant Corus comes under fire.

Steel giant Corus has come under fire over its UK restructuring programme as what looks set to be a stormy annual general meeting takes place tomorrow.

The Anglo-Dutch company, which employs 2,900 people on Teesside, has been accused of "bias" towards its UK operations by a former steel executive bidding for a place on its board.

Adrianus van der Velden has reportedly accused Corus of continuing to suffer from "huge differences" in culture between its UK and Dutch sides and claims the company is guilty of spending too much on the loss-making British steel operations.

The 63-year-old, who served on the board of Hoogovens, which merged with British Steel to create Corus in 1999, has been proposed as a non-executive director of the steel group by Russian metals magnate, Alisher Usmanov.

Mr Usmanov owns 13.4pc of Corus through his Gallagher Holdings investment vehicle and is pushing to have a greater say in how the company is run.

However, Corus has opposed Mr van der Velden's election to the board, due to be voted on at tomorrow's AGM, claiming that Mr Usmanov's position about plans to supply the company with iron ore from mines he owns in Russia has been inconsistent.

The Moscow-based businessman has previously talked about supplying iron ore to Corus, but late last week, Gallagher Holdings issued a statement saying it had "no plans or commercial intention to supply iron ore to Corus".

Corus chairman Jim Leng said: "Given these inconsistencies about Mr Usmanov's position it is difficult for the board to understand his long-term intentions and ambitions. "
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Apr 21, 2004
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