170 workers are currently employed at the Liberty Steel plant in Dudelange. Photo: Guy Wolff/Maison Moderne/Archives

170 workers are currently employed at the Liberty Steel plant in Dudelange. Photo: Guy Wolff/Maison Moderne/Archives

According to economy minister Franz Fayot, public-law banking institution SNCI and Liberty Steel have not been able to agree on a takeover offer for the steel plant in Dudelange.

On 2 February, during the committee on economy, consumer protection and space in the Chamber of Deputies, economy minister  (LSAP) indicated that the GFG Alliance group, owned by Sanjeev Gupta, has refused an offer from the Société nationale de crédit et d'investissement (SNCI) for its Liberty Steel plant in Dudelange. Currently in negotiations, the two parties have not reached an agreement on the price.

Lacking liquidity since  GFG Alliance's main creditor, Liberty Steel in Dudelange has been at a standstill for several weeks. While the management is considering a recovery plan that will last several months, the unions are worried that the 170 workers at the site are running around in circles in the factory and tirelessly carrying out maintenance when they are not on leave. The situation is even considered ludicrous as management continues to pay wages for a steel plant that has not produced for weeks. However, the unions have repeatedly explained that the plant is profitable, provided that they have the means to order raw materials.

In an attempt to break this deadlock, the economy minister has proposed a takeover of the site via the SNCI in a portage operation. This scenario was supported by the unions, with the aim of selling it later to a new steel player. However, Liberty Steel apparently rejected the offer, the amount of which has not been disclosed.

According to people close to the case, there are buyers interested in the Dudelange steel site, but Liberty Steel has never officially declared itself a seller.

On the other hand, the option of a return of ArcelorMittal to Dudelange, sometimes considered, remains largely hypothetical insofar as such a scenario would go against European rules on competition.

This story in French on Paperjam. It has been translated and edited for Delano.