Ascometal: towards a third legal recovery in ten years

And three! For the third time in ten years, the Ascometal group should find itself bankrupt on Wednesday, March 27. Only this time, at the headquarters in Hagondange (Moselle), near Metz, no one saw it coming. Because although everyone knows the desire to separate itself from the owner, the Swiss Swiss Steel, the group was in very advanced talks with the Italian steel company Venete. “We are stunned. For us it was already done. Venete had been in our facilities for months. We had a business plan that provided for ambitious investments. There we found ourselves with nothing from one day to the next”explains a disappointed CGT union delegate, who prefers to remain anonymous.

Venete only took over the group’s automotive cluster, i.e. Ascometal Hagondange (about 450 employees and 100 temporary workers), Ascometal Marcus (in Custines, in Meurthe-et-Moselle, near Nancy, 70 employees and Ascometal Le Marais, in Saint-Etienne, also with 70 employees) and Ascometal France Holding, its headquarters and research center, also in Hagondange (100 employees).

Buyers are being sought for the facilities in Fos-sur-Mer (Bouches-du-Rhône, about 360 employees) and Dunes, in Dunkirk (north, about 170 employees).

“Deterioration of the economic situation”

The news of this legal recovery was announced by the management of Ascometal, on Monday, March 25, to the elected staff of the Social and Economic Committee (CSE), during an extraordinary meeting. This has raised great concern at the Moselle plant, which works 90% for the automobile industry, of which it constitutes one of the essential links in the European market, with its excellent products. When contacted, Swiss Steel’s communications department did not respond to our requests on Tuesday, March 26.

According to the CGT, the reasons for this failure mentioned by management are multiple, but are mainly due to “to a deterioration in the economic situation since the beginning of the year.” “The agreement signed between Swiss Steel and Venete in December (2023), It included a number of commitments related to inventory levels and working capital requirements. As these conditions were no longer met, it would have been necessary to inject several million euros to close the agreement. Since neither our shareholder nor our takeover candidate were willing to do so, judicial recovery appears to be the only remaining option.” declares the union.

The management announced to elected officials that it would send, starting Tuesday, a request for judicial recovery to the Strasbourg Commercial Court. A hearing is already scheduled for Wednesday, March 27. The length of the observation period will depend on the company’s cash flow level. According to the CGT, this would allow it to last until July.

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