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Slovakia close to deal to keep US Steel Kosice plant
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Tuesday, 26 Mar 2013

Reuters reported that Slovakia is close to an agreement with US Steel under which the company will keep ownership of its plant in Kosice, a major employer in eastern Slovakia

Slovakian prime minister Mr Robert Fico, after talks with US Steel's leadership in Pittsburgh, said that talks may be concluded in the coming days.

He said “We are on the right path. Experts must finalize some details in the coming hours. If they manage that, we can bring good news to employees and their families this week or perhaps already tomorrow."

He did not say what the Slovak government had offered the US firm to reconsider its plan to sell the Slovak operation, which employs some 11,000 people, more than any other company in the central European country.

In the past, the government said it was looking at ways to lower the plant's costs in the energy, environmental and transport areas.

The Kosice plant, in the country's east where unemployment is the highest, is an important supplier for the Slovak car industry, a major source of economic growth.

US Steel said in November it was considering selling the unit after it received unspecified offers. Concern that the sale would lead to job losses at a time when unemployment hovers close to a nine year high prompted Fico to offer concessions, including lower electricity related charges.

US Steel bought its Slovak operations in 2000 for USD 475 million. The plant, with an annual capacity of 5 million tons, has two coke batteries, three blast furnaces and units that produce sheets, tin-mill products and pipes.

Source - Reuters & Bloomberg


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