French govt says has buyer for ArcelorMittal site

PARIS Wed Nov 28, 2012 9:47pm IST

An Arcelor Mittal worker from Florange site stands next to French riot gendarmes and CRS riot police as they demonstrate in front the National Assembly in Paris November 28, 2012. REUTERS/Jacky Naegelen

An Arcelor Mittal worker from Florange site stands next to French riot gendarmes and CRS riot police as they demonstrate in front the National Assembly in Paris November 28, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Jacky Naegelen

Related Topics



PARIS (Reuters) - The French government has found an industrialist willing to invest 400 million euros to renovate ArcelorMittal's (ISPA.AS) Florange steelworks in northeast France, a minister said on Wednesday.

Industry Minister Arnaud Montebourg told lawmakers that the interested party was a private investor from the steel industry who wanted to inject money into the site with the financial backing of the French state.

France has raised the prospect of the site being taken temporarily into state hands if no sale agreement is reached.

"(The party) "is ready to invest nearly 400 million euros to renovate this site," Montebourg told parliament, without giving the potential buyer's identity.

Montebourg said the aim was for the operation to have a zero cost for public finances and the government was mulling using existing state stakes in companies to fund any Florange deal.

On Tuesday, President Francois Hollande pressed ArcelorMittal CEO Lakshmi Mittal to keep two threatened blast furnaces running or agree to sell the whole site, raising the possibility of a temporary state takeover while the government looks for a permanent buyer.

ArcelorMittal has so far said that it wants to sell only the idled furnaces and not the entire site, a steelworks near the German border that employs some 600 people.

The company has told France's Socialist government that it plans to shut down the furnaces, which it says are no longer economically viable, unless a buyer willing to take them over can be identified by a December 1 deadline.

Steel industry experts say it would be tough to find a buyer for the furnaces alone without the adjacent steel plant.

"Discussions are ongoing," a London-based spokesman for ArcelorMittal said when asked if the firm would be ready to sell the Florange steelworks. He would not elaborate.

Earlier, Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici said the prospect of a temporary nationalisation of Florange was a special case and did not meant that further state takeovers for threatened factories were being prepared.

(Reporting by Nick Vinocur and John Irish in Paris and Philip Blenkinsop in Brussels)

Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Market Eye


Bullish on Equities

Bullish on Equities

Bullish on Indian equities, but gains seen 'less sharp'- Goldman Sachs  Full Article 

Streamlining Operations

Jet Streamlines

Jet Airways chairman says looking to restructure debts, talking to bankers  Full Article 

Political Economy

Political Economy

Analysis - Watch what markets don't do as world politics turns nasty   Full Article 


Honda's India Thrust

Honda's India unit to account for 25 pct of Asia Pacific sales by March 2017 - exec   Full Article 

Short of Expectations

Short of Expectations

Apple revenue lags Street's view despite strong China growth  Full Article 

Mircosoft Results

Microsoft Results

Microsoft revenue rises, profit falls as Nokia absorbed  Full Article 

Relief For Sahara

Relief For Sahara

Supreme Court could allow Sahara boss to conduct asset sale talks, company says.  Full Article 


Food Scandal

Five held in China food scandal probe, including head of Shanghai Husi Food   Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage