French power bill sparks anxiety at Alcan plants

25th February 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Feb 25 (AFP) - The Canadian aluminium giant Alcan could shut down French operations if its electricity bill keeps rising, director Olivier Baud warned in an interview published Friday.

PARIS, Feb 25 (AFP) - The Canadian aluminium giant Alcan could shut down French operations if its electricity bill keeps rising, director Olivier Baud warned in an interview published Friday.

"Energy accounts for 30 percent of our production costs. That forces us to anticipate movements. But no decision has been taken," Baud told the French daily Liberation.

"When we find electricity at less than USD 20 (EUR 15) a Megawatt hour, we open plants, it's the case in Australia, the Gulf countries, in South Africa and in Russia. Between USD 20-30 (EUR 15-23) we survive. Beyond that we can't do it any longer," he said.

"If we get USD 20 (EUR 15), we will build plants, if we have the same tariff as today (which was not specified), we will be able to go on."

Alcan operates three aluminium production sites in France. Baud acknowledged that other factors influenced the group's decisions on maintaining activities in specific countries.

"There are other variables besides the price of electricity," he said. "Each factory goes over its accounts each year to see if it can keep going or not."

On Tuesday, French Finance Minister Herve Gaymard said a plan would be worked out to guarantee long term-prices to industrial groups that consume large quantities of electricity.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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