Ascometal must deliver stock to gain time: unions

French trade unions have launched an urgent appeal to the French government to take immediate and decisive action to save Ascometal.

The company has been declared insolvent after the sale of its units to Italian long steel producer Acciaierie Venete was terminated last month (see Kallanish 28 March).

“Ascometal has about 14,000 tonnes of finished product in stock. It is complicated to ship this because transport needs to be paid and the company has no more money,” a source close to the firm says. He adds that to give it some financial breathing room, the firm will need to ship at least 6,000t of first-choice material very quickly.

“The second objective is to be able to restart the steelworks as quickly as possible because we have been asked to produce 11,000t,” the CFDT union says in a note. The company needs to urgently deliver to certain customers, it adds.

The proposed sale to Acciaierie Venete, announced in December last year, was to include the Hagondange facility in the Moselle region, Custines in Meurthe-et-Moselle, and the Le Marais plant in the Loire region, as well as Ascometal’s CREAS research centre.

Another source close to the dossier believes different buyers may be interested in some of Ascometal’s facilities but it will be challenging to sell all the facilities to only one buyer. Following the termination of the negotiations with Venete, Ascometal started judicial reorganisation proceedings – “procédures de redressement judiciaire” – for each of its units. A public tender will be held to find a buyer in the coming weeks.

Natalia Capra France