The Sartid mill, located in the central city of Smederevo, was sold back to the Serbian government four months ago after an American steel company, U.S. Steel, found that the mill was found operating at a loss, Reuters reports.
Now the government has named three companies that are interested in its purchase, including Russia’s Ural Mining and Metallurgical Co., Luxembourg’s United Pilsen SA, and Ukraine’s Donetsksteel Group.
The deadline for binding bids has been set for May 4, which is two days before Boris Tadic and his pro-western Democratic Party are up for re-election. If the sale is successful, it could help boost Tadic’s chances against the populist Serbian Progressive Party, according to Reuters.
The government bought the plant four months ago for a nominal $1 fee in order to prevent the loss of approximately 5,500 jobs at the plant. U.S. Steel purchased the plant in 2003 for a sum of $33 million, but the plant was running well below capacity for the past five years and U.S. Steel dumped the mill in December in order to cut its losses.