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Tata Steel weighing Mittal's French unit

Thursday, 29 November 2012 - 8:30am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: dna
While the company’s European operations are still far from steady, Tata Steel, the flagship of the Tata Group, is said to have evinced interest in one of ArcelorMittal’s steel plant in France.

While the company’s European operations are still far from steady, Tata Steel, the flagship of the Tata Group, is said to have evinced interest in one of ArcelorMittal’s steel plant in France.

But according to a report in The Guardian of the UK, the talks are currently moving at a slow pace as the company wants to acquire the entire site while ArcelorMittal had been offering only the blast furnace and the coke plant. However, Tata Steel has denied any such move.

The total capacity of the plant could not be ascertained from the company’s annual report or its official website.

Tata Steel is one among the five companies which had expressed interest in buying the plant. These are Russian firm Severstal, Riva of Italy, South Korean Posco and a French company Ascometal, said reports.

Last year, ArcelorMittal, which is the world’s biggest steel manufacturer, shut down two blast furnaces at its Florange plant due to economic unviability as the demand scenario in Europe was refusing to improve.

Later on October 1, it decided to close down the two mothballed furnaces sparking opposition from the employees and the government. This is expected to lead to a job loss of 629 employees.

Since then the company had been in the eye of a storm with the French government finally threatening to boot it out of its country and temporarily nationalise the mill owing to a raft of unfulfilled promises.

According to international reports, the French government has given itself time till December 1 to sell off the units for which Tata Steel and four other players are in the fray, but are demanding selling off the entire Florange site.

However, Tata Steel, which currently has a capacity of 18 million tonne with the majority coming from its European unit, is in a spot itself in Europe with its UK-based unit on a massive cost-cutting spree.

The company recently announced that it plans to cut 900 jobs across facilities in the UK, out of which 580 would be reduced in south Wales and the rest in England.

This was part of proposals to restructure its management and administrative functions and reduce the number of steel finishing and processing sites by 12, the company said.




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