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US Steel pulls out of Serbia

BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) – Serbia’s government has bought back from U.S. Steel its loss-making plant in the Balkan country for a symbolic $1, with a goal to avoid its closure and the layoff of 5,400 of its workers.

Prime Minister Mirko Cvetkovic signed the sale agreement with U.S. Steel Vice President of European Operations David J. Rintoul. He says the deal was a “forced move” that was the result of the global economic crisis.

Rintoul says that “it is indeed with a heavy heart that we leave Serbia today.”

Pittsburgh-based giant bought the plant in Smederevo, about 60 kilometers (37 miles) southeast of Belgrade, for $33 million (euro25 million) in 2003.

Cvetkovic says the government wants to resell the plant as soon as possible to avoid further strain on the budget.

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