Serbia sells steel plant to China's Hebei Iron and Steel

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

SMEDEREVO, Serbia (AP) — Chinese company Hebei Iron and Steel Group has signed an agreement to buy a loss-making Serbian steel plant that was previously owned by Pittsburgh-based U.S. Steel.

HBIS signed the 46 million-euro ($52 million) agreement Monday with the Serbian government, which had struggled for years to find a buyer.

The ceremony was broadcast live on Serbian state television, days ahead of an early general vote. Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic says the deal is important for the impoverished Balkan nation, which is desperate for foreign investment.

The factory employs some 5,000 workers. U.S. Steel ran the company from 2002-2012, before reselling it to the Serbian state for a symbolical price of $1 due to losses.