The Alteo factory in Gardanne -

MickaÎl Penverne / 20 Minutes

  • Made famous by its discharges of "red mud" at sea, Alteo was officially bought on Thursday by a Guinean consortium.

  • This takeover led to the loss of 98 jobs at the leader in alumina.

  • This buyer stops the import of bauxite, a historic but controversial activity of the site.

The Marseille commercial court on Thursday confided to the logistics group located in Guinea United Mining Supply (UMS), the only one in contention, the future of the Alteo plant, world leader in specialty alumina based in the Bouches-du -Rhône.

The only candidate still interested in the company at the last hearing on December 8, UMS had filed a plan to continue the Gardanne plant, placed in receivership more than a year ago following a decline orders and a crisis in the global aluminum market.

Stop importing bauxite

“The financial support of the company UMSI [its legal name] in its capacity as new shareholder of SAS Alteo Holding should allow SAS Alteo Gardanne to generate sufficient self-financing capacity to enable it to meet the commitments provided for by the plan ”of prosecution, writes the court in its decision.

In its offer, UMS, owned by Franco-Lebanese-Guinean businessman Fadi Wazni, plans to take over part of Alteo's debt, and, at the end of a 12 to 18-month transition, the stopping the importation of bauxite, a raw material used for the manufacture of alumina used in the composition of smartphone screens and also used in the automotive industry.

A hundred jobs lost

It would only import raw alumina powder that it would refine on site, thus avoiding having to store bauxite residues, singled out by residents and environmentalists.

This development would lead to the elimination of 98 out of 500 jobs, trying to get as close as possible to zero, mainly focused on the processing of bauxite.

The plant also generates more than 400 indirect jobs, making it one of the largest employers in the Aix-en-Provence area.

In a leaflet distributed on the site to employees and sent to

20 Minutes

, Force Ouvrière deplores the end of this centuries-old activity, "a symbol of the history of Gardanne and of French alumina".

However, the union expresses its “relief to have a UMS buyer which allows Alteo to have a future for employment and activity in Gardanne”.


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  • Redemption

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