Two major international steel companies have been short-listed by the Zimbabwean government as possible majority shareholders in the financially troubled Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company.
Government sources and news reports said ArcelorMittal Private Ltd., the biggest steel company in the world, has the upper hand over Jindal Steel and Power Limited of India.
ArcelorMittal Corporate Affairs Manager Sven Lunsche said his company is anxiously waiting for a positive response from Harare.
“We are the two short-listed companies but we cannot reveal any details under a non-disclosure agreement with the government,” said Lunsche.
Sources said ArcelorMittal is expected to invest more than US$1.5 billion in ZISCO, which needs more than US$600 million to revive its operations.
The government currently holds a 70 percent stake in the national steel maker which has one of the largest works in Africa - and debts of US$300 million.
Economist John Robertson told VOA Studio 7 reporter Gibbs Dube however that the two companies should be cautious about partnering with the government when such deals have not worked out in the past.
He said the government should make clear how ZISCO debts will be cleared in order to clinch a deal.