France Backs off Threat to Nationalize Steel Company

After forcing concessions out of them to invest more money


The French government backed away on Friday from a threat to nationalize a steelworks, saying it secured promises from the owner, ArcelorMittal ISPA.PA, to invest and avoid any forced layoffs at the site where the company has idled two blast furnaces.

Workers at the plant said the announcement fell well short of what they had hoped from a government that won power in May on promises to combat industrial decline and mass job losses in Europe's second-largest economy.

Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said ArcelorMittal, under fire for mothballing the site 18 months ago, would invest 180 million euros ($234 million) and had promised th