Ukraine Communists Submit Draft Bill To Nationalize ArcelorMittal Plant

KIEV, Ukraine -- Lawmakers from the Communist Party of Ukraine have submitted a draft bill to parliament proposing to renationalize ArcelorMittal's (MT) Kryviy Rih steel mill, the latest attempt to reverse the company's acquisition of the plant in 2005.

ArcelorMittal bought Ukraine's largest mill for $4.8 billion after the government reversed an earlier sale to two Ukrainian tycoons.

Earlier this month, a Kiev court revived a case against the cancelation of the original sale to businessman Rinat Akhmetov and Viktor Pinchuk for $800 million.

Messrs. Pinchuk and Akhmetov say they have nothing to do with resurrection of the case.

A judge postponed a hearing on June 18.

In comments carried on the Communist Party website, Serhiy Balandin, a co-author of the bill, said that there were "objective and weighty reasons" for nationalization, including the current owner's failure to fulfil social commitments undertaken during the privatization.

Volodymyr Tkachenko, head of Kiev office of ArcelorMittal Kryvyi Rih, said June 18 that a May inspection by the State Property Fund found no violations of social or other commitments.

He said the company has seen a dramatic increase of the number of government inspections this year.

A spokeswoman for ArcelorMittal in Ukraine said she had no immediate comment Tuesday.

It was unclear Tuesday when the draft bill will be debated.

Source: The Wall Street Journal