Former PM Keating Helps Arrium in Negotiations, Australian Says

Former Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating is helping struggling steel and iron-ore supplier Arrium Ltd. in talks after the company went into voluntary administration on Thursday, the Australian newspaper reported, citing a state government official.

Representatives from the government of South Australia state, home to Arrium’s steel mill in Whyalla that is facing closure, spoke with Keating, state Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis said, according to the newspaper. The former prime minister is chairman of the Australian arm of leading global financial ­advisory and asset-management firm Lazard Ltd., which counts Arrium as a client, the Australian reported.

Arrium’s administrators met with union leadership in Adelaide on Friday, followed by separate meetings with Koutsantonis and federal Industry Minister Christopher Pyne, who holds the eastern Adelaide seat of Sturt.

The Sydney-based company appointed a voluntary administrator after lenders rejected a $927 million recapitalization plan. Arrium’s net debt expanded to A$2.1 billion ($1.6 billion) as of Dec. 31, from A$1.75 billion at the end of June, according to filings.

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