Coalition won’t enter ‘bidding war’ to save Whyalla steelworks

Labor will announce a commitment worth $100 million to attempt to save Arrium’s Whyalla plant, but the federal government has criticised the timing of the news, saying it wouldn’t enter a political auction on the issue.

“Australia cannot be the only advanced economy in the world to let its steel industry die,” opposition leader Bill Shorten told AAP ahead of today’s announcement.

The ABC reports that the opposition’s Bill Shorten will pledge $100 million to assist Arrium. This would be in the form of a $50 million “Steel Reserve” direct grant program and $50 million in financing or loan guarantees, to be administered by EFIC.

This follows last week’s commitment of $50 million for Whyalla from the South Australian government.

The federal treasurer Scott Morrison did not rule out assistance from the government, but said the government wouldn’t be entering “some political auction on this” leading up to the July 2 election.

“We need to make these decisions soberly and carefully … We haven’t ruled things out,” he told ABC radio this morning.

Arrium entered voluntary administration in April, owing around $4 billion.

Administrators KordaMentha said that it expects the sale and restructure process to be largely complete by the year’s end.

Elsewhere, The Australian Financial Review reports that administrator KordaMentha and Deutsche Bank – which was recently appointed to advise the sell-off of the Moly-Cop division – will run two separate sales of the company’s assets.

The sell-off of the profitable grinding media and wire rope business Moly-Cop is well underway, according to unnamed sources cited in the AFR article.

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