(Reuters) - ArcelorMittal SA ISPA.AS and Brazil's Companhia Siderúrgica Nacional (CSNA3.SA) have emerged as leading contenders to acquire ThyssenKrupp AG's TKA.XE steel operations in the United States, the Wall Street Journal reported.
While U.S. steelmaker Nucor Corp (NUE.N) was also a potential bidder, it is less likely to succeed as it lacked the balance sheet flexibility compared to the other steel makers, the Journal said, citing people familiar with the situation.
ArcelorMittal has submitted a $1.5 billion bid for ThyssenKrupp's plant in Alabama, while the Brazilian company made a $3.8 billion bid for that plant, the Journal said. (link.reuters.com/tup35t)
ArcelorMittal said last week that it had put in a bid to buy assets that ThyssenKrupp has put up for sale.
The largest German steel maker, which invested $11.8 billion in its foray into the American market, has been plagued by the downturn in Europe, ballooning losses and poor project management at its plant in Brazil and the United States.
The company has said its Steel Americas project will be sold this year, as it shifts investment into higher margin products like elevators, plant components and submarines.
ThyssenKrupp and ArcelorMittal's spokespeople were not available for comment outside regular business hours.
Reporting by Avik Das in Bangalore; Editing by Stephen Coates