UPDATE 1-Steelmaker Gerdau joins battle for assets of France's Ascometal
* Brazilian company makes 86 mln euro bid -source
* Plans to invest 150 mln euros in business
* Gerdau aiming for 15 pct of Europe's speciality steel market
* Court reviews bids Wednesday, decides this month (Adds detail on Gerdau and French bids)
PARIS, May 12 (Reuters) - Brazil's Gerdau, the largest steelmaker in the Americas, joined the battle for the assets of bankrupt French engineering steel manufacturer Ascometal with an 86 million euro ($118 million) bid and pledges to invest heavily in the firm, a source close to Gerdau told Reuters on Monday.
The source said Gerdau, which has a market capitalisation of $10.4 billion and employs 45,000 peope, is interested in Ascometal's industrial base close to the key German market, especially its operations in northeastern Hagondange and Dunkerque on the northern coast.
"Our target is to create the European market leader in speciality steels, with a 15 percent market share," he said.
The Brazilian steel giant would rehire 1,585 of Ascometal's workers and take on an extra 166 people, of which 146 would be in Dunkerque and 20 in Hagondange.
Before the bankruptcy, Ascometal employed 1,900 people at six plants in France. The supplier of specialist steel products to the automotive, engineering and oil sectors had sales of 969 million euros in 2011. Continuación...