On November 24, 2000, US Steel Group, a unit of USX Corp., completed its takeover of the steel operations of VSZ Kosice in Eastern Slovakia for US$450 million, marking the conclusion of two years of negotiations with creditors, shareholders and Slovakia. The Slovak company has been renamed US Steel Kosice. With 17,000 employees, the mill is the largest employer in Slovakia and will account for a quarter of US Steel’s production capacity. The acquisition will result in an increase in the Slovak company’s production capacity by approximately 30 per cent, and is the first step of US Steel to establish its position in Europe.
As part of the transaction, US Steel entered into an administrative support agreement with a newly-formed Canadian-based company managed by Peter Friedmann for US Steel Kosice’s commercial activities in the North American market. Another company managed by Peter Friedmann previously had exclusive North American distribution rights for VSZ Kosice.
US Steel was represented by in-house counsel David Lutak and Richard Munsch. Gregory Hogan and Edward Waitzer of Stikeman Elliott in Toronto represented Peter Friedmann and related companies. VSZ was represented by a team of lawyers at Linklaters & Alliance led by Andrew Legg, and by John Kolada and Michael Stephenson of Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP.