The French Ministry of Economy and Finance is giving itself a few weeks to select a suitable candidate to procure the nationally strategic steel assets of Ascoval in Saint-Saulve and Hayange in Moselle, according to local media reports on June 23.
Ascoval, a 600,000mt per year electric arc furnace in the north of France capable of producing rectangular blooms and bars, signed a four-year supply agreement with Hayange in Nov 2019 to supply it with 140,000mt of material per year from September 2020.
In turn, Hayange re-rolls the semi-finished steel products to manufacture rails which are then sold on to SNCF Réseau – a public subsidiary which is responsible for the management and maintenance of the country’s rail infrastructure.
The Hayange plant, formerly part of British Steel prior to its Jingye Group acquisition, was blocked from being sold to the Chinese conglomerate by the French government given its strategic importance in supplying the country’s rail.
French media outlet, Le Monde, reports that sources close to the matter have indicated that the frontrunners to acquire the merged assets could be ArcelorMittal France, Liberty Steel or Jingye Group.