Ascometal fixed on his fate Wednesday


STRASBOURG (Reuters) – The commercial chamber of the tribunal de grande instance of Strasbourg will rule Wednesday on the fate of the producer of special steels Asco Industry, more known under the name Ascometal, which has filed for bankruptcy on Monday, a-t-on learned of the source of association.

The steelmaker, a former subsidiary of Usinor, which employs 1.350 employees on permanent contracts in France on five industrial sites, including Lorraine, Dunkerque and Fos-sur-Mer, should be placed into receivership.

The management of the company could not be attached.

According to one source union, talks were opened in the last few months, between Ascometal and several foreign industrial groups, of which none has been able to reach.

“We needed to find € 100 million to put them back in the society. The bankruptcy filing is expected to facilitate a solution, but the real risk is that a buyer does not keep the entire industrial plan, ” said this source.

As of Thursday afternoon, the steel group swiss Schmolz & Bickenbach, a company of 9,000 employees specializing in long products, announced its interest for the French group.

The bankruptcy filing of Asco sign Industry the failure of the project led by Frank Supplisson, former director of the cabinet of Christine Lagarde at Bercy, who had taken over the company in may 2014, after a previous bankruptcy filing, with three investment funds.

Arnaud Montebourg, then minister of Economy, welcomed this solution to French withholding to the detriment of the offer of the Brazilian Gerdau, supported at the time by the CFE-CGC union who considered industrially stronger.

For Xavier Le Coq, president of the CFE-CGC union iron works, “the three main sites of Ascometal have suffered from thirty years of a dearth of investment” and the crisis in the oil sector has weakened one of its branches of excellence. The turnover of € 500 million in 2015, was in decline.

“The boom years, the money has not been re-injected in the company and instead went to shareholders,” regret for his part Alain Hilbold, delegate of the central CFDT at Ascometal for which the company remains ” a jewel of French industry “.

(Gilbert Reilhac, edited by Yves Clarisse)

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