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US Steel likely to leave Slovakia - PM
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Thursday, 22 Nov 2012
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The Slovak prime minister said after meeting the head of the company's local operations that US Steel Corporation looks determined to quit Slovakia whoever ends up bidding for its business there.

Pittsburgh based US Steel said last week that it had received expressions of interest from investors eyeing its subsidiary in the eastern Slovak town of Kosice.

It did not name the potential suitors or say what it would do if a sale was not secured.

Slovak Prime Minister Mr Robert Fico, whose government fears heavy job losses in the town if the US company were to leave, said talks were still under way on a possible sale. He added that "I rather think they will sell and leave, based on the talks with US Steel."

Mr Rintoul left the meeting without commenting on the talks.

US Steel Kosice is the small euro zone nation's largest private employer with 11,000 staff and is an important supplier to the booming Slovak car industry, a key export sector.

The unemployment rate in the Kosice region was 21.3% in October 2012, far above the national average of 13.69%.

Mr Jan Baca, a spokesman for US Steel, declined to comment on the government's offer.

US Steel is paring back operations in Europe, where slowing demand is weighing on prices and shipments. In January 2012, it sold its Serbian mill for USD 1, triggering a USD 450 million charge in the first quarter.

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

Source - Reuters/Bloomberg

(www.steelguru.com)

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