POLITICS & INSTITUTIONS - ECONOMY

ArcelorMittal proposes Dudelange site sale



Luxembourg steel giant ArcelorMittal is prepared to sell its Dudelange site as part of a divestment package Maison Moderne archives

Luxembourg steel giant ArcelorMittal is prepared to sell its Dudelange site as part of a divestment package Maison Moderne archives

Luxembourg steel giant ArcelorMittal is prepared to sell its Dudelange site in a bid to strengthen its position to acquire Italian firm Ilva.

In a statement about its proposed divestment package published on Friday, the firm listed the mill, which includes two hot dip galvanising lines, one electrogalvanising line and a steel service centre consisting of two sitting lines and two cutting lines. The site produces around 900,000 tonnes of steel products per year and employs around 300 people.

The offer comes after the European Commisison opened an in-depth investigation into the proposed acquisition of Ilva under the EU merger regulation. It raised concerns that the merger may reduce competition for a number of flat steel products.

In a press release published in November 2017, the Commission said:

“At this stage, the Commission is concerned that, following the transaction, customers would face higher prices, particularly in Southern Europe, for these important inputs.”

The other sites included in the divestment package were Piombino, Italy, Galati in Romania, Ostrava in Macedonia and Ostrava in the Czech Republic.

ArcelorMittal said in Friday's statement:

“The proposal to sell these assets remains subject to final review and approval by the EC as well as the conclusion of the information and consultation processes with local and European works councils. Any sales would be conditional upon completion of ArcelorMittal’s acquisition of Ilva. The European Commission is expected to reach a final decision on the case by 23 May 2018.”

Luxembourg economy minister Etienne Schneider said he disapproves of any possible transfer of the ArcelorMittal Dudelange site to an unknown buyer within this context.

In a statement released on Friday afternoon, he said he would intervene both with the management of ArcelorMittal and with the commission in Brussels, so that the site in Dudelange remains the property of the group. “By forcing ArcelorMittal to divest production sites in Europe, the commission is acting against the interests of European industrial policy by hindering the creation of a true European steel champion from competing on the world market,” he said.