ArcelorMittal denies Algerian plant bankruptcy
PARIS - Global steel giant ArcelorMittal on Monday denied a claim made by its managing director that its Algerian subsidiary had filed insolvency papers with a court in the north African state.
"ArcelorMittal Annaba still has the support of its two shareholders, ArcelorMittal and Sider, and believes a solution will soon be found during the negotiations that are under way," the multinational said in a statement.
The company's managing director Vincent Le Goic said Sunday that ArcelorMittal, which holds the controlling stake in El Hadjar steelworks in the eastern region of Annaba, had filed insolvency papers with a court there.
A union representative at the factory confirmed Monday that the company's management had indeed met with the chief judge at the local court on Sunday.
The discussions focused "on the steel plant's financial situation and in particular the difficulties finalising the investment plan," union representative Smain Kouadria said.
On Saturday, Algerian Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia said the government would not allow the steelworks, which is 70-percent owned by ArcelorMittal, to be closed.
He said the multinational company, which employs nearly 7,000 in Algeria, had threatened to declare bankruptcy because of a funding crisis.
ArcelorMittal had asked for 14 billion dinars (140 million euros, $180 million) from a state-owned bank and had been granted 50 million euros but required guarantees before lending any more, he added.
Algeria's state-owned Sider controls the remaining 30 percent in the El Hadjar complex.