* JFE, U.S. Steel to jointly bid for unit - sources
* Arcelor, Nippon also join forces to bid - sources
* Deadline for final bids is Feb 28 - sources
FRANKFURT, Feb 10 Bidders competing for
ThyssenKrupp AG's loss-making U.S. and Brazilian steel
mills are teaming up in an effort to make the investment more
digestible, according to people familiar with the transaction.
Germany's biggest steelmaker ThyssenKrupp said in May 2012
that it was considering options for the mills which lost about
one billion euros in the financial year ended September 2012,
but deemed initial bids, which sources said were in the region
of 3-4 billion euros, as too low.
Japan's JFE Steel Corp and U.S. Steel are
planning to hand in a joint bid by a February 28 deadline for
final bids, two people familiar with the process said.
"The bidding process is running according to plan," a
spokesman for ThyssenKrupp said, without confirming the deadline
for bids. "We are optimistic to find a solution by the end of
the fiscal year."
JFE and U.S. Steel were not immediately available for
Europe's ArcelorMittal and Japan's Nippon Steel
have also joined forces in the auction according to
sources familiar with the process, though have not confirmed
their plan, while Brazil's Cia Siderúrgica Nacional (CSN) has
secured financial support from state development bank BNDES
ThyssenKrupp heavily wrote down the value of its Steel
Americas unit to 3.9 billion euros ($5.22 billion) in December.
It had wanted to carve out new markets with two mills in Brazil
and the U.S. but they were hit by cost overruns, poor project
management and weaker than expected demand.
Brazil's Vale, the world's No.2 miner, owns a 27
percent stake in Thyssen's Brazilian plant CSA, but has said it
is not interested to buying Thyssen's stake.
Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley are advising
Thyssen on the sale.
A downturn in the European steel market has prompted the
group to shift investment to higher margin products like
elevators, plant components and submarines.