Ziga: If Americans Were Selling U.S. Steel, Gov’t Would Be First to Know

Ziga on U.S. Steel's sale (photo by TASR)

Bratislava, December 6 (TASR) – The Americans aren’t selling Kosice-based steelmaker U.S. Steel at the moment, and there’s no reason to panic, said Economy Minister Peter Ziga (Smer-SD) at a HNClub event hosted by Hospodarske Noviny daily on Tuesday.

Ziga was reacting to news about investor bids concerning U.S. Steel published by some media on Monday (December 5).

The economy minister pointed to the fact that U.S. Steel is the biggest employer in Slovakia and that a private company listed on the US stock exchange stands behind it.

“We have a very fair relationship … we’ve got a memorandum of understanding in which forms of cooperation and commitments were agreed. I think that there’s no reason to panic, or to believe in conspiracy theories and hoaxes like yesterday’s,” said Ziga.

News that U.S. Steel is leaving might stir up panic, stated Ziga, adding that nothing like this is happening. “This firm employs 10,000 people who have their families here. It’s absolutely irresponsible [to write something like this],” stated the economy minister.

“We have such a good relationship that we also communicate unpleasant issues, and if something like this occurred, I’m positive that we as the Government would be the first to know about it,” stressed Ziga.

Business news website biztweet.eu, Czech business weekly EURO and Slovak daily newspapers SME and Hospodarske Noviny on Monday reported that U.S. Steel has received purchase bids from a Chinese company and Czech steel mills Trinecke Zelezarny, which belongs to Czech-Slovak group Moravia Steel. According to HN, the bids were presented in Pittsburgh last Friday. However, the Czech company’s offer was rejected later in the day, sources told the daily. The Chinese bid was thought to have been presented by steel giant Hesteel Group.

Trinecke Zelezarny made a bid to buy U.S. Steel last year, but the two sides failed to agree on the price at that time.

In the 2013 memorandum the American company promised to continue running the steelworks in Kosice until at least 2018 and that it wouldn’t resort to any mass lay-offs in the meantime.