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Slovakia targets stake in US Steel's local plant over shutdown concerns

Slovakiamay consider acquiring a stake in U.S.Steel Corp.'s steel plant in the country to save it from closing, Reutersreported May 4, citing Slovak Economy Minister Peter Ziga.

The governmentis seeking a 34% interest in U.S. Steel Kosice, which "would ensure a blockingmechanism so that the state can have a say," the official said.

"I can imagine that the government would join (any) talksand seek a share … to prevent a new owner buying the plant only to close it,"Ziga noted.

The unitis the largest employer in the country, with about 12,000 workers in the east ofSlovakia.

Accordingto the report, the company has been considering the sale for the past three yearsbefore yearly incentives of up to €15 million for 15 years were offered.

Amidlow steel prices, the company has been cutting costs and has laid off over 20 officejobs as of May.

In December2015, Czech steelmaker Moravia Steel was targeting the facility, according to theHospodarske Noviny newspaper.