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

Stocks

   
Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, daughter of Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi, adjusts her flower garlands as she campaigns for her mother during an election meeting at Rae Bareli in Uttar Pradesh April 22, 2014. REUTERS/Pawan Kumar

Election 2014

More than 814 million people — a number larger than the population of Europe — are eligible to vote in the world’s biggest democratic exercise.  Full Coverage 

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)

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

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Monsoon Forecast

Monsoon Forecast

South Asia monsoon seen below-average to average in 2014 - WMO.  Full Article 

Solar Dispute

Solar Dispute

Green groups urge U.S. to drop solar trade case against India.  Full Article 

Oil Imports

Oil Imports

India to make May-July oil payments to Iran - sources.  Full Article 

Facebook Earnings

Facebook Earnings

Facebook Q1 revenue grows 72 percent on rising mobile ads.  Full Article 

DLF Shares

DLF Shares

DLF slides 3 percent, underperforms rivals.  Full Article 

Rice Exports

Rice Exports

India may cede top rice exporter spot under Southeast Asian price onslaught.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

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