The World’s Biggest Steelmaker Plans To Bid For Zimbabwe’s Alloy Chrome

The World’s Biggest Steelmaker Plans To Bid For Zimbabwe’s Alloy Chrome

The world’s biggest steelmaker, ArcelorMittal, is planning an acquisition offer for Zimbabwe’s Alloy Chrome, an insolvent ferrochrome producer that has been looking for willing investors, Bloomberg reported on Friday quoting an unidentified person with knowledge of the matter.

Ferrochrome, made by processing chrome ore in a smelter, is used in the production of stainless steel.

Bloomberg said ArcelorMittal officials will visit the Harare-based company in the next two weeks to carry out a due diligence on it. However a spokeswoman for Luxembourg-based ArcelorMittal declined to comment on the matter.

Zimbabwe Alloys, 85 percent owned by Benscore Investments, controls almost 40 percent of the country’s chrome reserves, the biggest in the world after neighboring South Africa.

Three local bidders for Zimbabwe Alloys have perviously failed to raise the cash to meet the requirements of audit and advisory firm Grant Thornton Camelsa, which was appointed to manage the company after it was declared insolvent in July 2012, Bloomberg said quoting the unidentified source.

Alloy Chrome has been struggling to raise $40 million to rebuild three chrome smelting furnaces in Gweru in the southern African country’s Midlands province, which were shut down in 2008 due to rising maintenance costs and a lack of capital.

The company was also hurt by a government ban in April 2011 on exporting unprocessed chrome ore and falling prices of ferrochrome globally.

High demand for chrome ore externally has renewed pressure on the Zimbabwean government to relax a law that bans exports of the unprocessed material, Mines Minister Walter Chidakwa said in March.