labels: corus group, steel
Iraq wants Corus to help restart Basra steel plant news
23 January 2007

War ravaged Iraq has sought help in reopening an iron and steel plant in the port city of Basra from Anglo-Dutch steel giant Corus Plc, which has pitted Tata Steel and Brazil''s CSN against each other in an acquisition battle.

Iraq''s industry minister Fawzi Hariri, who is in London as part of a trade delegation seeking assistance from overseas partners for restarting various state-owned business.

According to UK''s The Guardian, Hariri met Corus officials and sought the company''s help. Hariri is quoted by the paper as describing initial talks with Corus for reopening the plant at an estimated cost of £75 million as being "positive".

The Guardian quoted Hariri, "They were trying to find out what we need. We also listened to what they offered. We are looking at another meeting later on this week to discuss further details."

Corus is reported to have responded cautiously, saying it routinely met trade delegations visiting the UK, The Guardian reported.

While describing the facility in Iraq''s second-largest city, Hariri said, "All the major steel structures, and the mills and ovens, are intact. The system controls were damaged or looted, which we will need to (be) rebuilt."

The Basra plant was built in the 1970s and would be able to produce around 400,000 tonnes of steel a year. A new plant, currently under consideration, is expected to increase capacity to one million tonnes.

Corus is currently awaiting a counter bid from Tata Steel to CSN''s last takeover offer of 515 pence.

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Iraq wants Corus to help restart Basra steel plant