Arcelor-Mittal, the European branch of the Indian Mittal group, employs roughly 20,000 people in France in its sundry steel mills. One of those mills, located in Florange in Lotharingia, is too far from the coast, causing excessive logistical costs, and oh by the way, Arcelor-Mittal’s 13 million tons of steel produced in France accounts for over 25% of the estimated 40 million tons’ excess capacity throughout the EU market. Twelve years ago, Mittal’s predecessor in interest, Acelor, wanted to close this particular mill about in 2009 or 2010, but a momentary spike in contracts lead them to delay the closing.
It’s been completely idle for roughly a year. Arcelor-Mittal has been actively seeking a buyer, but without success. Now France is proposing to nationalize the mill, not to run it, you see . . . but to sell it. Anyone want to bet how quickly the official position will change once the government is the owner?
How many millions upon millions of Euros will the French taxpayers get to shell out for the nationalization? And then to run the thing, because otherwise the — hold onto your hats, kids — whacking 600 jobs that would be lost to a permanent closure just can’t be sacrified, etc. etc. etc. By the end of the day this thing will be Solyndra with rusticles dangling from it.
Let’s review, just once more for the slow-witted among us: There’s enormous over-capacity in the European steel industry. This particular mill is rather old, and is inconveniently located. It’s too expensive to run. It’s small. No one wants to buy it. This makes it a perfect investment for the taxpayers why, now?
By the way, the same French minister who announced that nationalization was officially being considered because Arcelor-Mittal won’t promise to keep employing and paying 600 people whose efforts in this steel mill are no longer necessary to supply the European demand for steel also allowed that Mittal is no longer desired as an investor in French industry. He walked that rather extraordinary statement back very quickly, but really: Was that opinion casually expressed? Maybe the Hindus should just cut off a few French heads here and there, and then they’ll be as welcome in France as the Religion of Peace.
This is how they roll in France these days. According to Dear Leader and the Deep Thinkers (sounds a bit like a band, doesn’t it?) we’re supposed to become more like these boobs. Oh my ears and whiskers.