Steelmaker Třinecké železárny has made a bid to buy its main rival
Arcelor Mittal Ostrava. The news was confirmed by the spokeswoman of
Třinecké železárny Petra Jurásková.
The idea of a merger between the country’s two biggest steelmakers has received strong support both from Prime Minister Andrej Babis and President Milos Zeman who said the companies should stay in Czech hands.
The Czech government is closely following ArcelorMittal Ostrava’s sale with the main concern to ensure the continuity of steel making and allied activities employing more than 7,000 in a region of relatively high unemployment.
It is not clear how many other bids have been made.
Around 100 Czech steelworkers took part in a demonstration in Brussels on Wednesday over a European Commission decision about China’s market status. A decision whether to recognise China as a market economy would make protective European measures against cheap Chinese steel imports much more difficult. Chinese imports have been stepped up because of the slowdown of the domestic economy. Czech steel workers say around 15,000 jobs, mostly at steel plants in the east of the country, as well as 45,000 jobs indirectly linked to the plants, are threatened. They also warn that the next steps in EU moves to penalise polluters could seriously damage the continent’s steel sector.
Vítkovice Power Engineering, one of the key daughter companies of the engineering conglomerate Vítkovice, has filed for “reorganization“ bankruptcy. The company reportedly owes close to two billion crowns to over 700 creditors. The regional court in Ostrava, which was due to deal with a proposal for bankruptcy against the firm by one of its biggest creditors, Westag Invest, on Friday has cancelled the hearing.