A US-based firm has expressed interest in Pakistans’s Al-Tuwairqi Steel Mills Limited (TSML), according to a local newspaper. Pakistan’s Economic Coordination Committee is slated to consider the offer made by Ceina Group for TSML, which is a joint venture between South Korean Firm and Saudi’s Al-Tuwairqi Group of Companies. Pakistan’s government wants to sell the assets of TSML to settle an arbitration case filed by the Saudi venture partner, according to The Express Tribune.
TSML’s plant is based in Bin Qasim, Karachi with a capacity to produce 1.28mn mt of high-quality DRI (direct reduction of iron) annually. The Saudi firm stopped work on the plant since the Pakistani government refused to supply gas at a discount. The plant has been idled since June 2013. TSML had requested the government to supply gas at PKR123/mn British thermal units (mmbtu) to efficiently run the plant, but the then Pakistani government turned down the offer. As a consequence, Al-Tuwairqi Group pulled out its investments and filed a case on Pakistan in the International Court of Arbitration.
Pakistani government is making efforts to attract investments in the DRI sector by formulating a DRI policy in consultation with the iron and steel industry. The US-based Ceina Group is keen to acquire TSML, subject to some government concessions and exemptions. Ceina wants the government of Pakistan to supply gas for the DRI plant at $4.65 per mmbtu, inclusive of all tariffs.