FRANKFURT Nov 19 ThyssenKrupp will
open its books to remaining prospective bidders for its U.S and
Brazilian steel mills and ask them to make binding offers for
the loss-making plants, the company said on Monday.
ThyssenKrupp said in May it was considering all options for
the mills, including a partnership or a sale, to halt losses
there and concentrate on its European business.
The plants were supposed to give it a foothold in the
Americas but have struggled with rising costs and weak demand.
"In the second phase that has now been started, selected
bidders will be given the opportunity to analyse the plants in a
so-called 'due diligence' and to make binding offers," the
German steel and technology group said in a statement.
It reaffirmed that the two steel mills which comprise its
Steel Americas unit could be sold in a bundle or separately.
Two people close to the process told Reuters last week that
second-round offers were due last week and the field of bidders
for the mills was down to around half a dozen.
They said at the time that U.S. Steel and rival Nucor
were still in the running, as were Japanese groups JFE
Steel Corp and Nippon Steel, and Brazil's CSN
. Final bids were due next month, the sources said.
South Korea's POSCO, China's Baosteel
and Brazilian iron ore miner Vale, which
owns just over a quarter of ThyssenKrupp's Brazilian plant, are
not bidding. It was not clear whether ArcelorMittal,
the world's biggest steelmaker, was still in the running.
ThyssenKrupp Chief Executive Heinrich Hiesinger has said he
would want to sell the mills separately for at least their
combined book value of 7 billion euros ($9 billion), a target
that analysts have viewed with scepticism.
Sources told Reuters last month that ThyssenKrupp asked
bidders to resubmit their offers because it deemed the initial
bids too low.
U.S.-based AK Steel Holding Corp has also said it
might be interested in the two steel mills.
Steel Americas, the division that includes both sites,
posted an adjusted loss before interest and tax of 778 million
euros for the nine months to the end of June and is reportedly
heading for a full-year loss of more than 1 billion euros.
($1 = 0.7867 euros)
(Reporting by Tom Kaeckenhoff; Writing by Ludwig Burger;
Editing by Tom Pfeiffer)