By Gabriele Parussini
PARIS--The French government had identified a potential buyer for the Florange steel plant, but completing the operation would have implied expropriating ArcelorMittal (MT) at the cost of 1 billion euros ($1.31 billion), Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said Wednesday.
"We had a buyer, who made a proposal, not for the blast furnaces, but for purchasing the plant's factory that processes steel and manufactures food and drink packages," Mr. Ayrault said. "To push through the plan we should have expropriated Mittal, and that would have cost EUR1 billion."
After threatening the steel company with the nationalization of the site, the French government last week struck an agreement with ArcelorMittal Chief Executive Lakshmi Mittal, who agreed to scrap a layoff plan and pledged to boost investments on the site.
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