The Zimbabwean government has renewed its search for a strategic partner to participate in the restructuring of the Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company - ZiscoSteel - but has signaled that it does not want to partner up with a huge international conglomerate that will dominate the venture.
Industry and Commerce Minister Welshman Ncube said the new partner sought by the government should have the capacity to acquire a large portion of the 89 percent state stakeholding in ZiscoSteel, revive steel production and pay down company debts of many millions of dollars.
But Ncube said Arcelormittal Private Limited, rejected by President Robert Mugabe, will not be invited to to submit a fresh bid. Mugabe said the company was too powerful to run ZiscoSteel.
But another earlier bidder, Jindal Steel Limited of India, will be allowed to tender an offer, he said.
Ncube told VOA Studio 7 reporter Gibbs Dube that Zimbabwe does not see multinational corporations as appropriate partners for the restructuring of state enterprises.
Economist Eric Bloch said few international companies in any case are likely to submit bids for a stake in ZiscoSteel due to the government’s handling of previous acquisition negotiations.
“There will either be a few bids or no bids at all due to skepticism over the government’s negative attitude towards big international investors,” said Bloch.