French industrialists to bid for bankrupt steel firm Ascometal

PARIS Mon May 5, 2014 3:46pm EDT

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PARIS (Reuters) - A group of French industrialists and investors said on Monday it planned to make a bid of at least 40 million euros ($56 million)for the assets of bankrupt French specialty steel maker Ascometal.

The group includes Ascometal founder and former Airbus CEO Noel Forgeard, former Arcelor chief executive Guy Dolle, and Frank Supplisson, who was chief of staff of former industry minister Christine Lagarde. It will deposit an offer with the Nanterre commercial court by Friday midnight via its investment vehicle Asco Industrie.

Asco Industrie would hire all Ascometal's industrial staff and take over all its plants, invest 135 million euros in the firm over the next four years, and leave current CEO Jacques Schaffnit in place, the firm said in a statement.

It plans to cut 62 administrative jobs.

A spokesman for the group told Reuters that French investors have a majority of the capital of the company.

French media have reported that several other firms, including investment funds Anchorage and Apollo Global Management (APO.N), the former owner of Ascometal, are also planning a bid.

Gerdau SA (GGBR4.SA), Brazil's largest producer of long steel products, has also made a preliminary proposal to take over operations of Ascometal for 41.5 million euros, according to a securities filing in April.

Ascometal, which operates six plants in France and had sales of 969 million euros in 2011, supplies specialist steel products to the car-making, engineering and oil sectors.

(Reporting by Geert De Clercq; editing by Keiron Henderson)

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