* German steelmaker "surprised" by low offers -report
* ThyssenKrupp seeks to raise CSN and Ternium bids
RIO DE JANEIRO, March 23 German steelmaker
ThyssenKrupp was surprised by the low value of bids
for its Cia Siderurgica do Atlantico mill in Brazil and is
seeking talks with bidders to raise the offer prices, the
Agencia Estado news agency reported Saturday.
The two main bidders, Brazil's Cia Siderurgica Nacional
and the Luxembourg-based Latin American steelmaker
Ternium SA, counted on ThyssenKrupp's wanting to sell the
money-losing mill quickly to drive down the cost of buying it,
Agencia Estado said, citing a source with access to the
CSN is offering $3.8 billion for the CSA mill, which makes
steel slabs, and a rolling mill in the U.S. state of Alabama.
The two plants make up ThyssenKrupp's Steel Americas unit. CSA's
slabs are shipped to Alabama for processing into coil steel for
automobiles and other manufactured products. ThyssenKrupp paid
12 billion euros ($15.5 billion) to build the two mills.
The CSA mill, which opened only three years ago just outside
of Rio de Janeiro, is 73 percent owned by ThyssenKrupp and 27
percent by Brazilian iron ore giant Vale SA. Both CSN
and Ternium see CSA as a way to get new steel making capacity at
well below the $10 billion it would cost to build a new mill in
Brazil from scratch, the agency reported.
Brazil's state development bank BNDES is considering
financing the winning bidder for CSA, though the guarantees
offered as collateral to the bank by CSN are not yet considered
sufficient, Agencia Estado reported, citing unnamed sources.
The government of Rio de Janeiro favors a purchase by
Ternium because it is afraid that CSN's controlling shareholder
Benjamin Steinbruch will move the company's headquarters to Sao
Paulo as he did with CSN, depriving the state of some tax
revenue, the paper reported.
A ThyssenKrupp spokesman in Germany declined to comment on
the Agencia Estado report and said that the sale is going as
planned. The company hopes to complete the sale of its CSA stake
by the end of the company's fiscal year on Sept. 30, he added.
A CSN press spokesman in Sao Paulo declined to comment, and
a Ternium spokeswoman in Buenos Aires declined to comment as
The BNDES press office did not answer calls outside of
normal business hours.