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Serbian Government Takes Over Troubled Steel Producer

The Serbian government hopes to resell the plant as soon as possible.
The Serbian government has purchased an ailing steel plant in the town of Smederevo from U.S. Steel for a symbolic $1, in a bid to keep the plant running and save the jobs of some 5,400 employees.

U.S. Steel purchased the plant for $33 million in 2003 and has invested millions more into it since then.

In 2010, the plant had $35 million in foreign sales, accounting for some 10 percent of Serbia's exports.

But the global economic downturn of recent years has hit the firm hard, and it reported $73 million in losses in 2011.

Serbian Prime Minister Mirko Cvetkovic, who signed the takeover deal in Belgrade on January 31, said the government hoped to resell the plant as soon as possible.

Compiled from agency reports