The takeover of the steel company France Rail Industry entrusted to the British Liberty


The British group must now obtain the agreement of the Ministry of the Economy to take over the Moselle steel site, SNCF’s main rail supplier.

The commercial chamber of the Strasbourg court (Bas-Rhin) on Thursday 23 July entrusted the British group Liberty with the takeover of France Rail Industry, located in Hayange (Moselle). The British group must now obtain the green light from the Ministry of the Economy. And for good reason, France Rail Industry is SNCF’s main supplier of rails, an asset considered to be “strategic” by the French government.

The Liberty industrial project, which also includes the Ascoval steelworks in Saint-Saulve (North), was preferred to the offers of four other candidates: the steel leader ArcelorMittal, the Indian group Jindal, the British Olympus Steel and Chinese Jingye. The latter was privileged by the inter-union (CFDT, CFE-CGC and FO), meeting Thursday morning in social and economic committee.

“We are waiting for a tripartite meeting, we want the State to get involved. We want guarantees on investments and on employee retention”, reacted to AFP Djamal Hamdani, CFDT representative on the Moselle steel site which employs around 450 people. “We had the choice between ArcelorMittal and Liberty. We had the choice between plague and cholera, and the lesser of the two was Liberty”, he added.

The site has been waiting for a buyer since the bankruptcy of its owner, British Steel, who filed for bankruptcy in May 2019. This British steel company was bought in March 2020 by Jingye. The Chinese group was then unable to include France Rail Industry in this operation, the Ministry of the Economy having not delivered its opinion.

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