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YOUNGSTOWN LTV tries to weigh mill bids



Published: Tue, February 26, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



THE VINDICATOR, YOUNGSTOWN

LTV may pick the best bidder for its steel plants Wednesday.

YOUNGSTOWN -- LTV Steel officials are struggling to compare bids for its plants because they vary widely.

LTV had set clear terms and conditions of what it wanted from companies that want to buy the plants, but the bidders didn't abide by them, said Mark Tomasch, a company spokesman.

Examples of discrepancies include how the bidders intend to make payment and their willingness to take on environmental liabilities, he said.

Talking with bidders: Company officials have been talking with the bidders over the past few days to try to bring the bids into a form in which comparisons can be made, he said.

LTV is to meet with all of the bidders Wednesday. Officially, the meeting is called an auction, but Tomasch said it isn't known exactly how the meeting will unfold.

If the bids are in a form in which comparisons can be made, LTV could conduct an auction at the closed-door meeting to try to get the highest and best bid. On the other hand, the meeting could be further negotiations.

The format isn't as important as the end result, Tomasch said. LTV Corp. wants the most money it can for its LTV Steel division and is hoping a company will commit to restarting production at the plants. LTV Steel includes steel mills in Cleveland and Indiana, a finishing plant in Illinois and coke plants in Warren and Chicago.

Negotiations: Tomasch said LTV may announce a winner Wednesday, but he added that negotiations could continue Thursday before LTV is to appear in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Youngstown to seek approval of its selection.

LTV hasn't said how many companies have bid. Warren Mayor Hank Angelo said he is hoping a group led by WL Ross & amp; Co. of New York is successful because it intends to restart production at the Warren plant.




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