Don't fake your influence: Medef to government

7th February 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Feb 7, 2006 (AFP) - The head of the French employers' federation, Medef, on Tuesday warned the government in Paris against creating the impression it had the power to intervene in Mittal Steel's hostile takeover bid for European steelmaker Arcelor.

PARIS, Feb 7, 2006 (AFP) - The head of the French employers' federation, Medef, on Tuesday warned the government in Paris against creating the impression it had the power to intervene in Mittal Steel's hostile takeover bid for European steelmaker Arcelor.

"We should beware of political statements that fuel the illusion that there is any kind of political influence over this type of issue," Medef chairwoman Laurence Parisot told reporters in Paris. "It is not right to make people believe you can do things when you can't," she added.

Mittal, the world's biggest steel producer, in January launched an EUR 18.6-billion (US $22.3-billion) takeover bid for number two Arcelor — formed from steel interests in French, Spanish, Luxembourg and Belgium.

The unsolicited bid has sparked objections from the governments of France, Luxembourg and Spain and from labour unions, who are worried about job losses if Amsterdam-registered Mittal takes over the group.

Parisot made the distinction between being a stakeholder -- someone with an interest in an issue — and a shareholder — someone who owns shares in a company.

"The finance minister is right to say he is a stakeholder but he should take care to explain to the French public that since he is not a shareholder, he cannot hold any sway over the final decision," she pointed out.

"It is disingenuous not to tell the public who the real decision-makers are, even if we then go on to discuss the criteria they use," she added.

"We have a culture in France that accords great importance to politics but French people need to understand that the economy is also very important," Parisot went on.

Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin said on Sunday he wanted to know more about Mittal's bid for Arcelor and promised the government would be "demanding, active and vigilant".

And on Monday Finance Minister Thierry Breton, the former CEO of telecoms giant France Telecom, said stakeholders such as governments, employees and customers had a right to speak out about the Mittal bid.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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