RIO DE JANEIRO, March 31 (Reuters) - Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp said on Tuesday it was seeking an injunction against Ternium SA in Brazil for transferring shares in steelmaker Usiminas, which they jointly control, to third parties.
The injunction sought from a court in Minas Gerais state on Monday comes after the Japanese steelmaker reported Ternium to Brazil's CVM regulator for a share transfer that Nippon Steel says is a violation of Brazilian law ahead of a vote to elect a new Usiminas chairman next week.
Luxembourg-based steelmaker Ternium said last week that it transferred 25 million common Usiminas shares, about 4.9 percent of its stock, to the custody of Brazil's BM&FBovespa, the company that runs Brazil's stock market.
Ternium says the shares were legally transferred. On Tuesday a representative said it had not been notified about the injunction or the CVM report.
Ternium and Nippon have been at loggerheads since the sacking of Usiminas's former chief executive, Julian Eguren, for inappropriate receipt of money. Eguren, also a former Ternium executive, denies wrongdoing. Ternium continues to demand his reinstatement, which Nippon has refused.
The fraying of the controlling pact has led to a power struggle at Usiminas, and it remains unclear who will win the vote for chairman on April 6. Minority shareholders have put forward independent candidate Marcelo Gasparino, who is currently a board member. (Reporting by Luciana Bruno; Writing by Caroline Stauffer; Editing by Ken Wills)