Government not purchasing ArcelorMittal; company's debt at $3 billion

Monday, March 21, 2016 - 00:00

Finance Minister Colm Imbert has ruled out the possibility of the Government accepting to purchase ArcelorMittal's Point Lisas plant at this time.

ArcelorMittal has offered the Government the company at a cost of just $1 but in doing so, the Government must also accept the debts of the company.

Minister Imbert on Friday met with the company's management to discuss the finances of the company, which he said was to allow the Government to make "an informed decision".

The Minister told a news conference Monday morning that having met with the company, he has concluded that it doesn't makes sense for the Government to proceed with the purchase.

He says ArcelorMittal's debt is $TT3 billion, much higher than the TT$1.3 billion suggested in news reports last week. 

Minister Imbert says that ArcelorMittal's debt and the undermining of its South American market by Chinese firms, make it unfavorable at this time.

He says his primary focus right now is ensuring that ArcelorMittal's employees receive their severance benefits, pointing out that the value of ArcelorMittal's severance to workers is US$30 million.

But the Minister says ArcelorMittal is not legally obligated to pay severance benefits because of how it's being dissolved. 

He added that he does not believe that the closure or ArcelorMittal would result in an increase in construction costs although contractors would now have to seek another source of steel.