Indian firm takes over Zim steelmaker

[] — India’s Essar Group has won a bid to revive Zimbabwe’s collapsed parastatal ZISCO steelmaker, following a scramble for the shares of the beleagured firm, deputy industry minister said on Tuesday.

“I am pleased to announce that the country’s three principals agreed to the recommendation that Africa Essar Holdings be assigned the responsibility of comprehensively reviving the country’s steel giant, ZISCO,” deputy minister of industry and commerce Mike Bimha said in a statement.

The government had wanted to sell a 70% stake in ZISCO, but the ministry did not disclose any details about the transaction.

Once one of Africa’s leading steel producers with capacity to produce up to one million tonnes a year, ZISCO stopped operations in 2008 at the height of Zimbabwe’s economic and political crisis due to a lack of funding.

“The government of Zimbabwe is pleased with this development and looks forward to the rehabilitation and turning around of ZISCO,” said Bimha.

Africa Essar Holdings is part of the multinational company Essar Group, a global steel producer with operations in more than 20 countries.

In May, the government rejected bids by ArcelorMittal and India’s Jindal Steel and Power, with President Robert Mugabe saying the two companies were too big.

ArcelorMittal had said it was ready to invest R4.3bn for the possible acquisition of ZISCO.