Mittal meets Hollande over steel plant row in France
Industrial Recovery Minister Arnaud Montebourg earlier this week accused the company of lying to the government over its plan to shutter a blast furnace in the northeast town of Florange, threatening some 600 jobs.
The minister later sought to tone down his comments, telling reporters that ArcelorMittal's presence in France “was not in jeopardy.''
Hollande met with CEO Lakshmi Mittal on Tuesday to discuss the issue. Hollande said the government would consider nationalising the plant to save it. “It is part of the subjects of discussion,'' he said, according to the news agency Sipa.
The fate of the site has become a litmus test of the Socialist president’s strategy to rescue the struggling economy, improve competitiveness and create jobs.
Mittal is engaged in a fight with French ministers over the future of the site in the traditional, but declining, heartland of France’s steel industry in the eastern Lorraine region. ArcelorMittal has said that two blast furnaces at Florange, which were damped down for 14 months prior to their full closure, were uncompetitive in a tough trading climate, partly because they are too far from ports for transportation. France has until Saturday to find a buyer for them. It says it has two offers, but only for the entire Florange site including other facilities which Mittal wants to keep operating.
Mittal has refused to sell the full operation and
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