Lakshmi Mittal could see his ArcelorMittal plant in Florange, France, shut down, if President Francoise Hollande has his way. Lakshmi Mittal’s plant has been at the center of a heated debate after the steel giant cut some jobs there, could be nationalized by the French government. That word comes from President Francoise Hollande, who now says nationalization is one possibility they are considering to keep the disputed steel plant open.
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The government gave ArcelorMittal (NYSE:MT) until Dec. 1 to find a buyer for its plant in north-eastern France, but the steel giant has been resistant to the idea of selling the entire operation. The steel giant employs 20,000 workers in all of France, and the plant in question employs approximately 2,500 jobs. ArcelorMittal (NYSE:MT) closed the blast furnaces at that plant, shedding 625 jobs. Company officials said the blast furnaces were too far away from ports for them to be viable within the difficult trade environment. However the French government wants to see all of the jobs at the plant retained, so they are looking for ways to either bring in a new investor for the plant or possibly even nationalize it.
The idea of nationalizing the plant in question was first brought up by French Industry Minister Arnaud Montebourg, who has gone so far as to say the steel giant is no longer welcome in France. He said the company’s CEO went back on his word of protecting jobs and suggested that the plant in Florange could be nationalized temporarily to keep it open.
Some workers from the Florange plant went to Paris to demonstrate at the National Assembly in support of Montebourg’s idea. Also 40 lawmakers from President Hollande’s Socialist party said they support temporary nationalization of the plant.
Lakshmi Mittal has been barred from entering France.