* Apollo, Tsingshan also place bids for plant
* EU conditions could complicate Aperam's bid -sources
By Francesco Guarascio and Silvia Antonioli
BRUSSELS/LONDON, April 22 The European
Commission may oblige steelmaker Aperam, bidding to
buy Outokumpu's stainless steel plant in Terni, to
sell other steel assets if it succeeds, a commission source
Finnish steelmaker Outokumpu has to sell the Acciai Speciali
Terni (AST) stainless steel mill, one of Europe's most modern,
by May to gain approval from competition authorities for the
acquisition of Inoxum, ThyssenKrupp's stainless steel
branch, and AST was part of the acquisition.
Aperam, floated by ArcelorMittal in 2011, teamed
up with Italian steel companies Arvedi and Marcegaglia to place
a binding bid last week, and industry sources have said the
consortium is the front runner in the race to buy the plant.
The market for stainless steel in Europe is already
extremely concentrated, and the Commission would prefer the
entry of a new player, the source with knowledge of the
"It is not to be given for granted that the Commission will
give its authorization to the possible sale of the Terni factory
to Aperam," the source said.
"A possible solution may well be the imposition of a remedy
on Aperam, which already owns several stainless steel mills in
Europe," the source added.
Remedies are conditions imposed by the Commission before a
company is allowed to proceed with a merger or an acquisition
that could affect market concentration in the region.
Outokumpu and Aperam declined to comment on the situation.
Industry sources have also said EU regulators, seeking to
avoid anticompetitive market conditions, could make the
acquisition more difficult by forcing Aperam to sell assets
Other firms still in the race to buy the plant include U.S.
private equity fund Apollo, which also presented a binding bid
for the acquisition of the plant last week, and Chinese
steelmaker Tsingshan, which placed a non-binding bid, union