Ukrainian, Russian, Chinese, Indian, West European firms eye Serbian steel mill.

By bne IntelliNews April 17, 2012
Companies from Ukraine, Russia, China, India and from several West European countries are interested in buying the former US Steel unit in Serbia - Zelezara Smederevo, news agency Tanjug quoted the state secretary at Serbia's finance ministry, Dusan Nikezic, as saying. "We have a number of potential participants in the tender and that is why we expect it will be successful," Nikezic told TV broadcaster B92. The Serbian government said on April 12 it adopted a decision to open a tender, seeking a strategic partner for Zelezara Smederevo. Eligible bidders should be active in iron ore mining and have to produce pig iron, coke, steel and ferro-alloys. They should have generated at least EUR 1bn revenue in 2011, or the value of their assets has to amount to EUR 1.5bn. Interested companies can apply for purchasing transaction documents until April 27 and file their binding bids until May 4. The government added it will publish the tender invitation in local papers and in Financial Times and will also send it directly to all big global steel producers. The cabinet in Belgrade bought back the steel mill from US Steel for a token price of USD 1 at the end of January. US Steel decided to leave the company after it could not manage to recover its crisis-hit business. Several potential investors have already indicated their interest in Serbia's largest exporter. Last month, the owner of Luxemburg-based metallurgy holding United Group, Igor Samis, met government officials, expressing interest in the Serbian steel mill. United Group comprises Czech manufacturer Pilsen Steel and Russia's BumMash. Local media also reported that Ukrainian steel producer Donetskstal visited Zelezara Smederevo in March and could file a bid in the tender. The Smederevo-based steel mill generates 5% of Serbia's total production and around 14% of the country's exports. It employs about 5,500 workers. US Steel acquired in 2003 insolvent Serbian steel company Sartid. The acquisition included a steel plant and a river port located in Smederevo, central Serbia, a tin mill in the western town of Sabac and a limestone mine and processing unit in the eastern town of Kucevo.

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