Court orders fresh tender for Polish plate mill

A third tender will be held for the sale of Polish plate mill Huta Czestochowa (HCz) after the winner of the previous tender, Sunningwell Steel Polska, failed to come to an agreement to buy the steelworks.

The Czestochowa district court tells Kallanish it dismissed a request from Sunningwell to amend the rules of the previous tender held in July, but does not specify what this request entailed.

Sunningwell won the previous tender and was readying to incorporate HCz into its steel holding (see Kallanish passim). This was set up in 2019 to operate steel assets acquired in Poland, Romania and potentially other Central and Eastern European countries.

The failure to reach a sale agreement, however, was the fault of Sunningwell, a court spokesman says, obliging authorities to call a fresh tender in which Sunningwell is not permitted to participate, according to Polish law.

The court has ordered the administrator to provide within 14 days new tender conditions for approval by the judge. It has also requested a new proposal for the leasing of insolvent HCz. Sunningwell has been leasing the plate mill since September 2019.

Sunningwell was the only company to make a valid bid in the July tender. Another bid came in from Liberty Steel-owned Corween Investments, which also participated in last year’s sales process for HCz. However, this bid came in after the deadline and did not contain the required deposit, resulting in it being rejected by the court.

Sunningwell did not respond before deadline to requests for comment.

At an industry meeting last month Sunningwell chief executive Marek Frydrych said the firm anticipated a profitable business from HCz as “…there is no plate in the market.” HCz’s order book for the fourth quarter is 170,000 tonnes, he added.

Electric arc furnace-based HCz has a 1.2 million tonnes/year capacity of heavy plate.