Highsee Iron and Steel Group Co. Ltd., the largest privately owned steel mill in Shanxi province, is said to have failed to pay back 3 billion yuan (US$484.12 million) in overdue bank loans two weeks ago, the 21st Century Business Herald reported Tuesday, citing a person with knowledge of the situation. Most of the company’s production lines have halted operation and its workers have not been receiving their wages for months, the source said. But a company executive denied the allegations. According to the newspaper, most steel mills across the country are suffering losses amid sluggish demand, overcapacity and high debt. The industry is facing its worst operating environment since 2000, Liu Zhenjiang, vice president of the China Iron and Steel Association, was quoted as saying.
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