French minister fed up with ArcelorMittal

Nov. 27, 2012 at 3:27 PM
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FLORANGE, France, Nov. 27 (UPI) -- French Industrial Renewal Minister Arnaud Montebourg says it is time for Indian steel producer ArcelorMittal to pack up and leave France.

"We do not want Mittal in France any longer because they do not respect France," the minister said in an interview.

"Mittal's lies since 2006 are damning. [The company] has never honored its commitments" to France, Montebourg said.

France 24 reported Tuesday that the minister said he was working on a "transitory nationalization" plan for the steel maker's blast furnaces in Florange, a city in northeastern France.

He said the idea is to nationalize the firm on a temporary basis by finding "an industrial operator with a minority capital stake as long as it takes to stabilize activity," at the industrial site.

The company has already said it would close down its blast furnaces. On Oct. 1, the company told France it had two months to find a buyer.

But the only offers have been from two bidders who want to take over the entire industrial complex, not just the blast furnaces and the company is reluctant to agree to selling the entire site to a competitor.

Mittal said a sale of the entire site would put the rest of its industrial operations in France at risk.

If the company pulls out of France altogether, 20,000 people would lose their jobs, France 24 said.

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