Billionaire Group Pledges as Much as Needed to Save Schmolz

An investment holding company linked to Russian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg pledged to invest “as much money as necessary” in Schmolz + Bickenbach AG to avert a restructuring of the ailing Swiss steelmaker’s $800 million debt pile, Bloomberg News reported. Liwet Holding AG, which holds a 26.9% stake in Schmolz, said in a statement Sunday that the pledge is conditional on there being no change in control of the company. The open letter is the latest salvo in a dispute between Liwet and Martin Haefner, a Swiss businessman and the company’s second-largest shareholder, over the future direction of Schmolz. The steelmaker’s shares have plunged 60% this year amid slumping demand from carmakers, and the Lucerne-based company badly needs new money to fend off a potential insolvency. Read more