Five bidders for ThyssenKrupp steel mills -paper

FRANKFURT Wed Oct 10, 2012 2:46am EDT

FRANKFURT Oct 10 (Reuters) - ThyssenKrupp has closed the first round of bidding in the sale of its steel mills in Brazil and the United States, with at least five parties still interested in acquiring one or both of the assets, a German newspaper reported on Wednesday.

Without citing sources, Die Welt reported that steelmakers Posco of Korea and Japan's JFE Steel Corp. were among the companies that are still in the bidding process.

ArcelorMittal is also involved, although it is only looking at buying the U.S. steel finishing plant in Alabama, according to the paper.

Iron ore miner Vale also remains a possible bidder. The company owns 26.9 percent in ThyssenKrupp's finishing slab mill in Brazil and has a right of first refusal.

ThyssenKrupp Chief Executive Heinrich Hiesinger said in August that he wanted to receive at least the 7 billion euros ($9.03 billion) at which the two assets are valued on his company's balance sheet.

"Due to the complexity of the process and the differing interests in one or both plants, we cannot provide details on the further time plan," a spokesman for ThyssenKrupp said.

Steel Americas, the division that includes both sites, posted an adjusted loss before interest and tax of 778 million euros for the first nine fiscal months through to the end of June.

Bankers involved in the process have previously told Reuters that potential bidders for Steel Americas include ArcelorMittal, U.S. Steel, Japan's Nippon Steel and China's Baosteel, as well as POSCO.

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