Alteo inaugurates an installation in Gardanne allowing it to comply with environmental standards.
C. Delabroy / 20 Minutes
One of the last two candidates for the takeover of Alteo, the world leader in specialty alumina, in receivership and on which nearly a thousand jobs depend, announced the withdrawal of its offer Tuesday at the commercial court from Marseille.
"I withdrew our offer," announced at the end of the closed hearing Xavier Perrier, former director of the plant located in Gardanne (Bouches-du-Rhône) which processes bauxite, an imported red rock. especially from Guinea, in specialty alumina used in the manufacture of smartphone screens or in the automotive industry.
Xavier Perrier, who had backed up the industrialist Alain de Krassny, owner of the chemical company Kem One, explained his decision mainly by the lack of response from the state to a request for a loan guarantee of 50 million. euros.
A withdrawal explained by the lack of response from the State
Only the offer of the logistics group based in Guinea United Mining Supply (UMS) remains in the running.
Xavier Perrier and Alain de Krassny's takeover project, called Alto, planned to keep all of the plant's activities and the approximately 500 site employees, and aimed to recover bauxite residues for the construction sector or even for wastewater treatment.
The factory, which also generates more than 400 indirect jobs, making it one of the largest employers in the Aix-en-Provence area, uses an industrial process invented more than 120 years ago that subject of recurring environmental criticism.
For years, the factory threw its red mud into the Mediterranean.
Now decontaminated, these residues are stored on open air sites in the neighboring town of Mange-Garri to the dismay of some residents who particularly deplore the flight of dust and fear the pollution of groundwater.
A project that would result in 98 job cuts
"The issue of red mud has" hysterized "the debates, unfortunately to the detriment of employment and the region's GDP," regretted Tuesday Xavier Perrier, saying that this had prejudiced his demands to the State.
The UMS project, owned by Franco-Lebanese-Guinean businessman Fadi Wazni, provides for its part to take over part of Alteo's debt, and, at the end of a transition of 12 at 18 months, the end of the import of bauxite
He would only import raw powder from Europe, in particular, which he would refine on the spot.
This development would result in the elimination of 98 jobs at most - trying to get as close as possible to zero - mainly focused on bauxite processing.
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