Swiss Steel denies aid offers from government, shareholder

Swiss Steel Group says its financing is secured and reiterates its plans for restructuring, which involve a spin-off of assets it considers to be non-core.

In a statement seen by Kallanish, the group rebuffs media reports that suggest the steelmaker is in dire financial straits, and that the Luzern state government and one main stakeholder are considering support.

The Luzerner Zeitung quotes Martin Haefner, owner of a 33% shareholding in Swiss Steel, as saying he will be prepared to support the company financially. It also reports the Luzern government stating that it its testing ways of supporting the company.

Another paper, Sonntagsblick, claims the chairman of the company’s supervisory board, Jens Alder, intends to persuade the two main Swiss shareholders to each inject CHF 200 million ($234m) into the company. However, Peter Spuhler, who owns a roughly 20% shareholding, has stipulated that Alder must step down as chairman, the paper writes.

The third big owner, with a 25% stake, is Russian Viktor Vekselberg, who is unable to participate in any such measures because of sanctions against Russia.

Shortly before Christmas, Swiss Steel announced it is in exclusive talks with Acciaierie Venete to sell three plants of its French unit, Ascometal. It did not clearly state if it will pursue the spin-off of the remaining Ascometal plants, Les Dunes in Dunkirk and Fos-sur-Mer.

Christian Koehl Germany