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Four companies vying to buy French steelmaker Ascometal, union officials say

French steelmaker Ascometal SA has drawn interest from four potential buyers after the company filed for court protection in November, Reuters reported Dec. 19, citing union officials.

According to the sources, Liberty House, Spain's Sidenor and Swiss steel company Schmolz + Bickenbach submitted their offers by the Dec. 18 deadline set by a French court, while an undisclosed party submitted a letter of intention.

Liberty House and Schmolz + Bickenbach have confirmed their interest in acquiring Ascometal assets, with Liberty House telling Reuters that it submitted a formal bid for Ascometal's Asco Industries businesses. Meanwhile, Schmolz + Bickenbach said it bid for a "substantial part" of the French company's assets worth €135 million, including €64 million to be invested in production facilities over four years.

Sidenor was not immediately available to comment on the matter, and a report from French daily Le Monde said the fourth bidder is Italian steel company Beltrame, which declined to give a statement on the bidding.

One of the sources further noted that one of the bidders lodged an offer for Ascometal's entire business and gained the support of the French company.