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France

Hollande to meet ArcelorMittal chief

media Arnaud Montebourg visits ArcelorMittal workers at Florange Reuters

French President François Hollande will meet with the head of steel giant ArcelorMittal on Tuesday as a showdown over the company’s French operations continues.

The scheduled meeting with chairman Lakshmi Mittal comes after French Industrial Renewal Minister Arnaud Montebourg said on Monday the company was no longer welcome in France.

“We do not want Mittal in France any longer because they do not respect France,” Montebourg told the French financial daily Les Echos, “Mittal’s lies since 2006 are damning."

ArcelorMittal has given the French government until Saturday to find a buyer for two blast furnaces it plans to shut down in Florange in the country’s east.

The closures would see 629 workers made redundant.

The company wants to maintain its other operations at the site but Montebourg says the Socialist government has two offers but only for the entire site.

Last week the minister threatened a "transitory nationalisation" of the facility in a hearing before French senators.

The French government claims the planned closures break an agreement Mittal made during his €26.9bn takeover of Luxembourg-based Arcelor in 2006.

But Mittal says a sale of the entire site would threaten the rest of ArcelorMittal’s operations in France where it employs around 20,000 workers.
 

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