All a misunderstanding? Posco contradicts Hunt, says it’s not bidding for Arrium

Image: Live Mint

Posco has directly contradicted industry minister Greg Hunt, who made a statement yesterday saying Posco had “strong desire” to buy and upgrade Arrium’s Whyalla steelworks, claiming they were only offering to sell their technology to Arrium.

A spokesman for Posco told Reuters that, “Posco has not participated in bidding to buy Arrium,” as was widely reported yesterday. The spokesman said the company only wanted to sell their Finex technology – which removes the need for a blast furnace – to Arrium.

Hunt and a delegation including the Australian Workers Union and South Australia’s industry minister Tom Koutsantonis travelled to Korea this week, meeting with officials at the steel business.

He released a statement saying Posco planned to increase capacity at the troubled steelworks by 50 per cent.

POSCO briefed me on their future vision for Whyalla – where the plant not only continues current operations, but grows significantly,” he said.

“They don’t want Arrium to just be competitive domestically. They want Arrium to be globally competitive.

Posco attempted to acquire Arrium in 2012 for $1.2 billion, though the bid failed. The steel and iron ore business had $2.4 billion of debts at the time after buying up iron ore mines.

Arrium went into voluntary administration in April this year, owing over $4 billion.

This morning the collapsed group’s Moly-Cop mining consumables business was reportedly sold to American Industrial Partners – a private equity firm – for $US1.23 billion (about $1.6 billion).

The rest of Arrium’s assets, including the Whyalla steelworks, are being sold separately. A second creditors’ meeting is being held today.