Czech Republic wins arbitration with ArcelorMittal

March 27th, 2008 - 12:50 am ICT by admin  

Prague, March 26 (DPA) The Czech Republic won an international arbitration with Indian steel giant ArcelorMittal over compensation for a minority share in the group’s Czech steel mill, Czech Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek said Wednesday. ArcelorMittal demanded 5.79 billion koruny ($355.37 million) in compensation for a nearly 14-percent share in its steel mill in the northeastern city of Ostrava, which the metallurgical group acquired from the Czech state in 2003.

The tribunal in Paris also ruled that the Czech state’s legal fees of 500,000 euros are to be reimbursed, the minister said.

“The Czech Republic will not have to pay a single koruna,” Kalousek told reporters at a press conference televised by the CT24 news channel.

The Czech Republic had pledged to transfer the disputed shares, now administered by the finance ministry, as part of a privatisation deal with Mittal.

The transfer, however, has been blocked by the state’s legal dispute with a Czech businessman to whom the government had promised a share in the steel mill in the 1990s but then backed out of the deal.

According to an earlier decision, the company can now buy the shares from the state, which thus can’t transfer them to the Indian steel producer.

ArcelorMittal’s Czech unit is the country’s largest steel maker, which had produced 3.06 million tonnes of the metal in 2006. The company has 7,450 employees.

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