Sarkozy pledges state funds to help ArcelorMittal plant
President Nicholas Sarkozy said the government was ready to use state funds to invest in an ArcelorMittal steel plant where nearly 600 jobs are threatened
GANDRANGE, France, Feb 5, 2008 - French President Nicholas Sarkozy on
Monday said the government was ready to use state funds to invest in an
ArcelorMittal steel plant where nearly 600 jobs are threatened.
"We are ready to do what is necessary regardless of who the owner is
because our goal is to keep factories open in France," Sarkozy told a
gathering here of 400 steel workers after a 45-minute tour of the plant.
He said "the state was ready to take charge of all or part of the
investment needed" to keep the facility functioning.
The plant is facing a restructuring plan that would see the elimination of
595 jobs from a workforce of 1,108 between now and 2009.
"Either we manage to convince (Arcelor chief) Lakshmi Mittal (to reconsider
the plan) and we will invest with him or we find a buyer and we will invest
with him," Sarkozy said.
"There could perhaps be investments in mahinery but also perhaps in the
training of 300 young people" hired over the past two years, the president
Following a recent meeting with Sarkozy Mittal agreed to freeze the plan
until early April in order to consider a counter proposal drafted by
specialists selected by trade unions.
Union sources said an investment of 20 to 30 million euros (30 to 44
million dollars) is needed to maintain operations at the plant.