• France edition
 
ArcelorMittal takeover threat called 'blackmail'
Medef's Laurence Parisot (Photo: World Economic Forum)

ArcelorMittal takeover threat called 'blackmail'

Published: 29 Nov 2012 12:56 GMT+01:00
Updated: 29 Nov 2012 12:56 GMT+01:00

President François Hollande has himself dangled the threat in talks with the billionaire, ranked 21st in the Forbes list of the world's wealthiest people, over the row on the Florange plant in the eastern Lorraine region.
   
France has threatened to take over the plant if ArcelorMittal goes ahead with plans to permanently close two blast furnaces on the site that the company regards as uneconomic.

ArcelorMittal, which wants to continue to operate the rest of the site, has given the government until Saturday to find a new investor willing to take over the furnaces.

Laurence Parisot, the head of the influential Medef employers' group, said the proposed move, first unveiled by Industrial Renewal Minister Arnaud Montebourg, was "simply scandalous."
   

"If the aim through these statements is simply to exercise pressure, to engage in blackmail in the course of negotiations, it is unacceptable," she on RTL radio.
Parisot said it was not up to the state "to start telling each company in France 'this is our strategy'" adding that only "an entrepreneur can know if something is profitable or not."

Former premier Alain Juppé a heavyweight figure in the right-wing opposition, called for Montebourg to be sacked over remarks he deemed
"calamitous" for the image of France.
  
"It is time to replace someone who is on his way to becoming the minister for industrial collapse," Juppé wrote in his blog.
   
The case, a litmus test of Hollande's commitment to spur growth, create jobs and boost the low competitiveness of French industry, has created outrage in India with messages on social media networks saying Mittal would have been treated differently if he was a white man.
  
Some of them also recalled the opposition he faced from Arcelor executives and French interests during his contested takeover of the company in 2006.

"This is not socialism, this is racism," the Indian site Firstpost said in an article.

"ArcelorMittal is not the first to cut jobs in France. Peugeot has announced 8,000 job cuts in France, Sanofi 900 and Carrefour 500-600," it said referring to blue-chip French companies.

Hollande had dangled the threat of nationalization just minutes before his one-to-one talks Tuesday with the India-born Mittal, which the government spokeswoman said had been "frank and firm."

ArcelorMittal argues that the blast furnaces at Florange are uncompetitive in current market conditions, partly because they are too far from ports for transportation.

The company has warned that nationalisation of the plant would cast doubt on the future of all its operations in France, where it employs 20,000 people.

The French government, meanwhile, wants the company to guarantee the estimated 650 jobs on the line.
  
Montebourg caused controversy earlier in the week when he said Mittal was not welcome in France, comments that were quickly disowned by his colleagues and from which he subsequently backtracked.

But the minister, widely regarded as a loose cannon whose mantra to promote 'Made in France' has even seen him pose in a Breton sailor top for a popular magazine, said on Wednesday that an investor in the business is interested in buying Florange.

"We have a buyer, who is a steelman, an industrialist, who is not a financier, who wants to invest his own money and who is ready to put almost 400 million euros into renovating this plant," Montebourg told deputies.
 
A group of socialist members of parliament has objected that Mittal does not have French interests at heart.

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Gaza crisis: Air France halts flights to Tel Aviv
Air France has suspended all flights to Tel Aviv. Photo: AFP

Gaza crisis: Air France halts flights to Tel Aviv

French national airline company Air France suspended its flights to Tel Aviv on Tuesday until further notice, due to the worsening security situation in Gaza. READ  

Four children killed in French minibus crash
Five children die in minibus crash in eastern France. Photo: AFP

Four children killed in French minibus crash

UPDATED: Four children and two adults died in a road crash near the city of Troyes in central France on Tuesday when their minibus collided head-on with a lorry travelling in the opposite direction, French authorities said. READ  

Tour de France stage 16: Australian Rogers wins
Australian Michael Rogers won the 16th stage of the Tour de France on Tuesday. Photo: Eric Feferberg/AFP

Tour de France stage 16: Australian Rogers wins

Australian rider Michael Rogers won stage 16 of the Tour de France in the Pyrenees on Tuesday ahead of Frenchman Thomas Voeckler. The 237.5km stage was the longest of the the 2014 "Grande Boucle". READ  

Hollande denies rumours he will marry actress
Is Hollande about to get married to actress Julie Gayet? He himself has denied it, but he's been. Photos: AFP

Hollande denies rumours he will marry actress

The French president François Hollande has brushed off persistent rumours he is about to get married to actress Julie Gayet, whose secret affair with the president made headlines around the globe when it was revealed in January this year. READ  

Avignon wowed by 18-hour Shakespeare play
A file photo taken on June 25, 2014 at the Theatre National de Bretagne, in Rennes, western France, shows actors from the troupe "La Piccola Familia" performing during a rehearsal of "Henri VI". Photo

Avignon wowed by 18-hour Shakespeare play

An 18-hour version of Shakespeare's epic "Henry VI" ended to sustained applause early Tuesday at France's top arts festival in Avignon, marking a triumph for the play's 32-year-old director. READ  

Pro-Palestinian Paris demo given green light
A pro-palestinian protest has been given the green light in Paris, despite the risks of violence. File photo: Bertrand Langlois/AFP

Pro-Palestinian Paris demo given green light

French authorities have given the green light for a pro-Palestinian demo to be held in Paris on Wednesday, after it came under fire for banning previous marches, that nevertheless ended in violence. French PM Manuel Valls has blamed the recent riots on extremist groups. READ  

Rising water traps eight cavers in French Alps
Eight caves have been reported missing after an expedition to the Cuves des Sassenages, near Grenoble, seen above in this file photo. Image: Delaere/FLickr

Rising water traps eight cavers in French Alps

UPDATED: Eight cavers who had become trapped overnight in a famous cave system in the French Alps by rising water levels were rescued on Tuesday afternoon, reports said. Visits to the cave were cancelled on Tuesday due to flooding. READ  

Netflix promises 'to invest in French society'
Netflix is set to launch in France this September. Photo: Jason Merritt/AFP

Netflix promises 'to invest in French society'

American video streaming service Netflix has announced it is coming to France in September and has promised to invest in French society. Rumours are still flying around online about how much the service will cost per month. READ  

The Local list
The top 15 expressions in French for making love
From sauce pans to legs of lam: The top 15 expressions in French for having sex. Photo: Shutterstock

The top 15 expressions in French for making love

The French language is famous for being the language of love and it's also well known for its vast array of colourful idioms and expressions. So we’ve combined the two and picked out 15 of the best French "sexpressions" for "rumpty pumpty" a la française. READ  

French police bust alleged jihad recruiters
Police arrested dismantled a suspected terror cell in southern France (Frank Perry/AFP)

French police bust alleged jihad recruiters

Three people suspected of recruiting fighters for the Syrian civil war and plotting 'violent acts' were arrested early on Tuesday in France. The raid comes as France tries to stem the number of its residents fighting 'holy war' abroad. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
Forget 'faire l'amour', here's 15 top French expressions for making love
National
Report - 'Anti-Semitic' riots in France: 'We may leave for Israel'
National
IN IMAGES: Two Paris anti-Israel demos descend into violence
National
Paris Plages: Here's 10 reasons to head down to the city beach
International
'Mont Blanc is like Disneyland. It's time to end the free-for-all'
Travel
Fancy climbing Mont Blanc? Here's 10 reasons to think twice about it
Travel
Sun's up: Temperatures in parts of France could hit 40°C
National
Monkey slur lands ex-National Front member with hefty jail sentence
National
VIDEO: Jewish 'ultras' and anti-Israel mob in running street battle in Paris
International
Middle East crisis: 'Jews in France are stand-ins for Israeli targets'
Culture
IN PICTURES: Bastille Day fireworks mark centenary of the 'Great War'
Gallery
Looking for a weird museum in Paris? Here's 10 that are worth a visit
National
Clear your head: Eight tips for buying wine in a French supermarket
National
'Don't blame the labour market for France's unemployment woes!'
National
Job applicants in France: Be prepared to send in an anonymous CV
Sport
'I've never seen scenes like it' - Tour de France winner on the UK crowds
Sport
'Bouligans' to booze bans: Ten things you need to know about pétanque
Gallery
Driving in France: How to stay out of trouble on the roads
Travel
Ten essential free phone apps for a visit to Paris
Gallery
Like cycling? Love France? See the top ten best cycling routes in France
International
'They think beer is a vegetable': What the French really think of Germans
National
Sarkozy's dream of a 2017 comeback is not dead yet
Gallery
Ten reasons why France is better than Germany (we're not talking football)
Sponsored Article
CurrencyFair: Why it pays when making overseas transfers
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se