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Ukraine's Largest Steel Mill To Be Auctioned Today

(RFE/RL) 24 October 2005 -- Ukraine's largest steel mill goes up for auction today for a second time, in the country's largest post-Soviet privatization.

Three firms have submitted bids to buy the Kryvorizhstal plant in central Ukraine. The opening of their bids will be broadcast today by Ukrainian television.

The starting price is $2 billion although the government of President Viktor Yushchenko is hoping the sale will bring in half as much again.

In 2004, Kryvorizhstal was sold for $800 million to a group of industrialists with close ties to former President Leonid Kuchma.

Yushchenko called it "theft" and court rulings struck down the sale.

Ukrainian analysts said the Industrial Group -- led by France's Arcelor -- is favored by the Yushchenko administration.