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TOKYO, (Kyodo) — Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. is in talks to acquire a German company's U.S. automobile steel sheet plant jointly with ArcelorMittal S.A. for around 200 billion yen, sources close to the matter said Wednesday.

Nippon Steel and ArcelorMittal are aiming to seal the deal with German's ThyssenKrupp AG by the end of the year, said the sources, adding they are considering taking equal stakes in the plant.

Nippon Steel and ArcelorMittal, which have joint steel production operations in the United States, are seeking to expand automotive steel sheet production capacity to meet growing demand in the country, according to the sources.

ThyssenKrupp started operating the plant in Alabama in 2010, but its performance has been sluggish and the firm has been considering selling it.

Nippon Steel has also been expanding production capacity in China for automotive steel sheets.

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