U.S. Steel likely to quit Slovakia, country's PM says

BRATISLAVA Tue Nov 20, 2012 3:22pm GMT

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BRATISLAVA Nov 20 (Reuters) - U.S. Steel Corp. looks determined to quit Slovakia whoever ends up bidding for its business there, the Slovak prime minister said on Tuesday after meeting the head of the company's local operations.

Pittsburgh-based U.S. Steel said last week it had received expressions of interest from investors eyeing its subsidiary in the eastern Slovak town of Kosice.

It did not name the potential suitors or say what it would do if a sale was not secured.

Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico, whose government fears heavy job losses in the town if the U.S. company were to leave, said talks were still under way on a possible sale.

"I rather think they will sell and leave, based on the talks (today with U.S. Steel)", Fico told reporters after his brief meeting with U.S. Steel Kosice CEO David Rintoul in Bratislava.

Rintoul left the meeting without commenting on the talks.

U.S. Steel Kosice is the small euro zone nation's largest private employer with 11,000 staff and is an important supplier to the booming Slovak car industry, a key export sector.

The unemployment rate in the Kosice region was 21.3 percent in October, far above the national average of 13.69 percent.

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