Harare, Zimbabwe — MININGREVIEW.COM — 26 August 2010 – The government of Zimbabwe has invited bids for its 70% stake in Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Works Limited (Zisco) which was once the second-largest integrated steelmaker in sub-Saharan Africa.
Revealing this here, industry minister Welshman Ncube said bids from interested parties should be submitted by 24 September. He pointed out that offers from India’s Jindal Steel & Power Limited and ArcelorMittal South Africa Limited had been rejected by Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe in May this year.
“At the time, the president thought the companies were too big and that a medium-sized company should invest in Zisco,” Ncube explained. “I believe ArcelorMittal’s bid was in excess of US$500 million (R3.75 billion),” he said.
The government has identified cash-starved Zisco “’ once a major foreign currency earner with capacity to produce 1Mtpa of steel, as the first state-owned enterprise to be disposed of in a bid to revive its operations.
“The ministry wishes to advise interested parties that bids for a strategic partner for Zisco are now open,” said Ncube.
He declined to say whether the Indian and South African companies would be invited to re-bid for Zisco, the rest of which is owned by closely-held Lancashire Steel Limited, Stewart & Lloyds Limited, and Tanganyika Investments Limited.
Zisco stopped operations last year as the world slipped into economic recession.