The bankrupt Poldi Steelworks was auctioned off for a second time on Wednesday, to an anonymous bidder for 251 million crowns (nearly 10 million euros). The minimum bid was set at 160 million crowns with the estimated value of Poldi’s assets given as 180 million crowns.
The initial auction that took place earlier this year was called off after the bidder failed to pay the bid amount. The current bidder, who reportedly wants to restart operations at the steelworks as soon as possible, must pay the amount within the next 30 days, that is by July 27.
The former jewel of Czech steelmaking at Kladno has been closed for years and been in insolvency since the end of 2017, with wages unpaid to around 150 workers. Steel production temporarily restarted at the start of this year but quickly stalled when the previous owners became mired in debt, and a reorganisation plan and search for a new investor failed to emerge.
The famous steelworks were initially auctioned off this April to Stanislav Kraslawski, a French citizen based in Switzerland, but he failed to pay the amount with the given time limit.
Poldi Steelworks was historically a synonym for quality and innovation. It once produced cars, which set world records for speed in the 1930s. Steel from the Czech plant was sued to make Sydney harbour’s famous bridge. And special non-corroding steel was created to make surgical instruments and for replacement of hip joints and other body parts.
Founded in 1889, the plant and its many subsidiaries at one time employed around 20,000 people.