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Zimbabwe Invites Bids for Stake in Steelmaker Zisco

Aug. 25 (Bloomberg) -- Zimbabwe has invited bids for its 70 percent stake in Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Works Ltd., once the second-largest integrated steelmaker in sub-Saharan Africa, Industry Minister Welshman Ncube said.

Bids from interested parties should be submitted by Sept. 24, he said today from the capital, Harare. India’s Jindal Steel & Power Ltd. and ArcelorMittal South Africa Ltd. had offers rejected by Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on May 6.

“At the time, the president thought the companies were too big and that a medium-sized company should invest in Zisco,” Ncube said. “I believe ArcelorMittal’s bid was in excess of $500 million.”

Ncube declined to say whether the Indian and South African companies would be invited to rebid for Zisco, the rest of which is owned by closely held Lancashire Steel Ltd., Stewart & Lloyds Ltd. and Tanganyika Investments Ltd. Zisco stopped operations last year as the world slipped into recession.

Zimbabwe is considering a law that may compel investors in the steelmaker to sell 51 percent of the company to black Zimbabweans. ArcelorMittal South Africa is the largest steelmaker in sub-Saharan Africa.

ArcelorMittal South Africa spokesman Themba Hlengani didn’t answer his office or mobile phones when Bloomberg News called seeking comment.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Latham in Durban at blatham@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at asguazzin@bloomberg.net

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