AN Indonesian steel company looks set to buy the Ravenscraig works

with a view to shipping the steel-making equipment to the Far East and

building a slab plant, probably in Malaysia.

A team of experts from PT Gunawan Dianjaya, a family-run group with

experience of similar re-assembly operations, visited the defunct plant

recently and their report is now under study at the company's

headquarters in Surabaya, an industrial port in eastern Indonesia.

Asked about Ravenscraig, a spokesman for the company said that plans

for the project were at an advanced stage and confirmed that a purchase

was ''quite likely''.

But he could offer no financial details or say if the company was also

interested in equipment from the deep-water port at Hunterston.

''We expect to have all the negotiations finalised by April or May

though, as we are still awaiting the final results of the technical

survey, an estimate on the price is still impossible,'' Mr Duon Pak told

The Herald.

Mr Pak, a Korean who is in charge of the Ravenscraig scheme, said

Malaysia would be the most likely destination of the equipment if the

deal were to go through though he hinted that there were other options.

Gunawan, which runs a steel plant in Surayabaya, last year installed

an 800,000-tonne capacity plate mill nearby using equipment bought from

Germany's Dillinger.

British Steel confirmed that Gunawan had emerged as the most likely

buyers from a number of interested parties and agreed that a decision

was due within a few months.

''We are in serious discussions with this company about the sale of

Ravenscraig though that is all we can say at the moment,'' the spokesman

said. If the deal goes through, the plant would probably be assembled at

a coastal site in Northeast Malaysia, where the Indonesian company has

already signed a land lease with the authorities.

A plant with a capacity of around one million tonnes a year could

quickly be assembled and the steel, produced cheaply using local labour,

would be sold mainly to the emerging economies of the Far East.

Some could eventually make its way back to Britain from the re-sited

plant though industry specialists said high transport costs generally

deter such bulk trade.