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Kryvorizhstal could be sold for $6 bln - Ukraine govt. official

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Ukraine's authorities have said that Kryvorizhstal, the country's largest steel mill, could be sold to a group of investors for $6 billion.

KIEV, May 15 (RIA Novosti) - Ukraine's authorities have said that Kryvorizhstal, the country's largest steel mill, could be sold to a group of investors for $6 billion.

A 93% stake in Kryvorizhstal was sold for 24.2 billions hryvnas ($4.8 bln) to Mittal Steel, the world's leading steel producer, in October, but the country's property fund has indicated that the plant may be re-sold at an auction because the current owned are not honoring their commitments.

"There are several domestic and foreign investors who are ready to pay 30 bln hryvnas (about $6 bln)," Valentina Semenyuk, the head of the country's State Property Fund, said Wednesday.

The October sale was seen as a test case for the country's new "orange" regime, following allegations of corruption over previous privatizations in the country. Officials including President Viktor Yushchenko declared themselves satisfied with the auction at the time.

Before November 2005, a controlling stake in Kryvorizhstal belonged to the Investment Metallurgy Alliance, controlled by Viktor Pinchuk, son-in-law of former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma.

Semenyuk declined to name the new investors, citing considerations of commercial secrecy, only saying that it would not be another reprivatization attempt, but the government's move to exercise control over investment obligations.

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