Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

What Next for Gaza? Lasting Ceasefire Agreed After 50 Days of War

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

New French economy minister signals changes to 35-hour week

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Valls ♥ Business

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

'Macron-economy' pun already worn out

Read more

DEBATE

What Next for Gaza? Lasting Ceasefire Agreed After 50 Days of War (part 2)

Read more

FOCUS

Video: Milan is starting point for Syrian refugees’ European odyssey

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Terrorist ransoms: Should governments pay up for hostages?

Read more

ENCORE!

Kristen Stewart and Juliette Binoche star in 'Clouds of Sils Maria'

Read more

WEB NEWS

India: journalist launches "Rice Bucket Challenge"

Read more

  • Assad cannot be partner in fight against terrorism, says Hollande

    Read more

  • Evidence of Russian support for Ukrainian rebel counter-attack grows

    Read more

  • Platini will not run against Blatter for FIFA presidency

    Read more

  • Air France pilots announce week-long strike in September

    Read more

  • Erdogan's inauguration paves way for constitutional change

    Read more

  • New French economy minister takes swipe at 35-hour work week

    Read more

  • Air France suspends flights to Ebola-stricken Sierra Leone

    Read more

  • Uzi shooting by 9-year-old rekindles gun debate

    Read more

  • Mother of American journalist asks IS leader for his release

    Read more

  • UN probe accuses Syrian regime, Islamists of ‘crimes against humanity’

    Read more

  • Uruguayans sign up to grow marijuana at home

    Read more

  • Missouri governor appoints black public safety director

    Read more

  • French unemployment rises 0.8% in July to record high

    Read more

  • Video: Iraq’s Yazidis flee to spiritual capital of Lalish

    Read more

  • Video: Milan is starting point for Syrian refugees’ European odyssey

    Read more

  • Airstrikes and Assad - Obama’s military conundrum in Syria

    Read more

  • IMF’s Lagarde investigated in French corruption case

    Read more

France

France denies Rio Tinto nationalisation rumours

© AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2012-12-12

François Hollande’s Socialist government denied rumours on Wednesday that its Industrial Recovery Minister Arnaud Montebourg (pictured) was planning to nationalise a French aluminium plant owned by Anglo-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto.

The French government denied a newspaper report Wednesday that Industrial Recovery Minister Arnaud Montebourg was considering nationalising an aluminium plant owned by Anglo-Australian mining group Rio Tinto.

Le Monde newspaper reported that the move was being studied by officials working for Montebourg, just 10 days after the government rejected a similar proposal for Indian steelmaker ArcelorMittal's Florange steel plant in eastern France.

But his ministry issued a terse statement saying it "denies the information appearing in Le Monde about Rio Tinto Alcan's Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne factory."

There was no immediate comment from Rio Tinto.

Montebourg was vociferous in his support for nationalisation in the case of ArcelorMittal and was reported to have come close to resigning after failing to convince his colleagues in a debate that exposed fault-lines within the Socialist government.

EDF wrangle

The minister's officials are currently negotiating with Rio Tinto's Alcan unit over the future of the plant at Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne in the French Alps.

Key to the negotiations is the company's demand for a reduction in the prices it pays for electricity bought from energy giant Electricite de France (EDF), in which the government has a controlling stake.

The plant's current electricity deal expires in the spring of 2014 and Rio Tinto has threatened to sell or close it if its demands are not met.

In October, it said several potential buyers had been in touch about a possible takeover.

Like Florange, the aluminium plant is seen as a symbol of France's declining industrial base.

It was originally owned by French group Pechiney, which was bought out by Canada's Alcan in 2003. Alcan itself was taken over by Rio Tinto four years later.

EU ‘global village idiot’

Montebourg on Monday described the European Union as “the global village idiot” due to what he labelled a lack of protectionism. “The EU is the only one that does not protect itself against unfair competition. We have become the idiots of the global village,” he told his European counterparts at a meeting in Brussels.

“For 30 years, consumers have made the law in Europe and the result has been a disaster. Me, I defend the producers,” he said, according to French officials.

Montebourg’s recent flurry of activity has earned him a boost in popularity among the French public but has also seen him cross paths with Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici, with whom he’s said to hold a frosty relationship.

Last week, Montebourg was reported to have handed in his resignation letter over the ArcelorMittal debacle, but it was rejected by President François Hollande and Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault.

(FRANCE 24 with wires)

Date created : 2012-12-12

  • FRANCE

    Coke suspends French investment plans in protest at ‘sugary sodas’ tax

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    Qatar says investments in France not driven by 'politics'

    Read more

  • ECONOMY

    French trade deficit hit record €69.6 billion in 2011

    Read more

COMMENT(S)