Paris suburb hopes the blues can save Peugeot site

PARIS Wed Nov 21, 2012 12:58am IST

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PARIS (Reuters) - A Paris suburb hopes a blues festival will help persuade U.S. investors to put money into the redevelopment of a local PSA Peugeot Citroen car factory that is due to be closed.

Aulnay-sous-Bois Mayor Gerard Segura plans to show a delegation of entrepreneurs from Louisiana and U.S. embassy representatives around during the "Aulnay All Blues" festival on Wednesday in a bid to find new uses for the Peugeot site.

The music festival runs until Saturday and includes performances from New Orleans musician David Batiste, playing alongside sons Russell, Jamal, Ryan and Damon.

"Such are the coincidences of history, but the links formed first with Chicago and now with New Orleans will perhaps enable us to combine an economic initiative with a cultural one," Segura said by phone.

The French automaker plans to shut the Aulnay plant in 2014, which employs 3,300 full-time workers, as it reorganizes under-used domestic production capacity to help reverse mounting losses.

Unions have pledged to fight the closure, while local officials have warned of a social disaster in an area that already suffers from high unemployment and crime. Peugeot has promised to seek new investors for the site.

(Reporting by Gilles Guillaume, editing by Paul Casciato)

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