French President urges Lakshmi Mittal to avert closure of furnaces

French President urges Lakshmi Mittal to avert closure of furnaces France's President Francois Hollande has urged Lakshmi Mittal- the owner of the world's largest steel-maker ArcelorMittal - to keep two idle blast furnaces in northeastern France running.

Indian steel magnate Mittal has so far defied proposals to sell the whole Florange steelworks to enable a state takeover. He has repeatedly warned that he would just close the idled blast furnaces in case no private buyer shows interest in acquiring them by the December 1 deadline.

Hollande held a meeting with Mittal at his office, and urged him to avert the closure of the furnaces.

Following the meeting, the President's Office said in a statement that Hollande "reiterated his desire to ensure the sustainability of jobs on the site."

The meeting between Hollande and Mittal took place a day after France's industry minister Arnaud Montebourg said Mittal should be kicked out of France as he had broken promises. He also threatened ArcelorMittal with temporary nationalisation.

ArcelorMittal employs around 20,000 people in France. Mittal had acquired the Luxembourg-based Arcelor in 2006 in a hostile takeover.

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