Saarstahl moves closer to Liberty French mills’ takeover

Germany’s Saarstahl says it hopes to complete the acquisition of Ascoval and Hayange from Liberty Steel by the end of the summer. This comes as informed sources tell Kallanish the Paris Commercial Court has approved the transaction.

According to a union source, the takeover will give the troubled France-based mills stability. It will also allow for new investments to respond to the current strong demand, as a result of which both plants report full order books. “This closes two and a half years of work and will give the two sites stability and power,” French industry minister Agnès Pannier-Runacher told the country’s press.

Last month, an agreement was signed between Liberty Steel and Saarstahl for the takeover. Both Ascoval and Hayange have faced a significant reduction in working capital support since the collapse of Liberty’s main lender, Greensill Capital.

Ascoval produces continuous cast rounds and forged products at a production facility in Saint-Saulve, France. It recently started the production of blooms and square billet for a variety of applications, including rail blooms, which are supplied solely to Liberty Rail in Hayange.

Saarstahl and parent company Stahl-Holding-Saar (SHS) confirmed on Monday they obtained on 1 July an agreement in principle from Liberty Steel France Holding to purchase the plants.

“This is another important step that paved the way for SHS to take over the two steel plants, Liberty Ascoval and Liberty Rail Hayange,” says Saarstahl. “The group is fully mobilised alongside all parties and the Ascoval and Hayange teams so as to achieve a final agreement by the end of summer 2021.”

SHS and Saarstahl have proposed an industrial concept for the Ascoval and Hayange plants that ensures the economic and social security, as well as further development of the two French sites, the German steelmaker adds.

Natalia Capra France , Svetoslav Abrossimov Bulgaria