Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Gerdau Considers Buying ArcelorMittal Plant

Brazilian steel maker Gerdau SA has held talks with French government officials on the possible purchase of an ArcelorMittal plant that unions say is set for closure, the Finance Ministry said Monday.

In a statement, the ministry confirmed French media reports that Gerdau was interested in buying the plant in Gandrange, in northeastern France. It has not yet made an offer for the plant, the ministry said.

Gerdau's No. 2 executive, Paulo Fernando Bins de Vasconcellos, met with French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde to discuss the possible deal, the statement said. It did not give the date of the meeting.

In the statement, the ministry recommended that Gerdau contact ArcelorMittal directly to state its intentions.

ArcelorMittal is expected to announce Friday the closure of the Gandrange plant by 2009, union officials have said. They have said they expect the steel group to cut more than half of the plant's 1,100 jobs, while asking most remaining workers to retire or move to other company sites.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has pledged to try to keep the plant open and save as many jobs there as possible.



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