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USS departure from Košice likely: Slovak leader

Keywords: Tags  steel, US Steel, Slovakia, Europe, Kosice

LONDON — U.S. Steel Corp. will likely exit its steelmaking plant at Košice, Slovakia, though it would be better for the surrounding region’s stability if the Pittsburgh-based steelmaker remained, Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico said Tuesday.

"I worry that people will lose their jobs, and that is troubling for the government," Fico told journalists at a news conference, according to a statement from the Slovak government’s website.

Fico made the statement after a meeting with David Rintoul, vice president of the company’s European operations and president of U.S. Steel Košice SRO (USSK), to discuss U.S. Steel’s possible pullout from the central European state.

A spokesman for the Slovak flat steel producer confirmed in mid-November that the steelmaker had received expressions of interest to acquire USSK (, Nov. 14).

When asked to comment on Fico’s remarks Tuesday, a spokesman for USSK confirmed it had seen interest for the operations but declined to comment further.

"U.S. Steel Corp. believes it is prudent to explore this interest. At this time, we have nothing more to report," he told AMM in an e-mail.

A spokeswoman for the Slovak government would not confirm to AMM sister publication Steel First other media reports that it had offered concessions to U.S. Steel should it decide to remain in the country.

U.S. Steel is one of eastern Slovakia’s largest employers and has a 13,000-strong work force, the government said.

Incoming European Union legislation that requires increased investment in the environment, plus rising raw material costs, are making steelmakers in Eastern Europe less competitive and are the reason why U.S. Steel is considering an exit from the country, the government also said.

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