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29.01.2012. / ree-Akademediasrbija

The Serbian government bought out the Smederevo steel mill from the US Steel company with the aim of maintaining production and preserving jobs for over 5,000 employees, Prime Minister Mirko Cvetkovic stated Friday evening. The government has no intention of being the owner for a long time, and in the period to come will focus on searching for a strategic partner, Cvetkovic told a news conference. The Serbian government obtained all of the steel mill's fixed assets and net working capital of over USD 100 million for a symbolic price of one US dollar, Cvetkovic said, adding that the company has no debts or loan commitments towards banks.

Cvetkovic announced that the agreement on the purchase of the Smederevo steel mill from US Steel will be signed on Tuesday, January 31. He said that the finding of a strategic partner will be easier if the factory continues operating, and does not go insolvent or bankrupt.

He pointed out that, with this move, the government demostrated social responsibility and gave support to one of the most significant companies in Serbia.

US Steel earlier stated that they are withdrawing from the Smederevo steel mill due to the consequences that the global economic crisis had for the world steel market, adding that there has been no misunderstandings whatsoever with the Serbian government.

Cvetkovic recalled that 5,400 people are employed at the steelworks, adding that another 20,000 are connected to its work. In addition, it is one of Serbia's largest exporters, which is why the government decided to play a proactive role in the solving of the company's problem, in order to preserve jobs and production, Cvetkovic underlined.

As of January 9, the factory employees are working four days a week, and are getting 60 percent of the salary for the fifth day.

/ Serbianna / 

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