French Threat To Nationalize Mittal Likely To Scare Off Business

If you already have a business-unfriendly rep, stealing companies doesn't help


President Francois Hollande's threat to nationalize an ArcelorMittal (MT) steel plant, while saving 600 jobs, may curb the creation of new employment by reinforcing France's notoriety as a difficult place for business.

Hollande has given Lakshmi Mittal, the chief executive officer and biggest shareholder of the world's largest steelmaker, until Dec. 1 to either keep jobs at the plant, sell all of it or face its nationalization. Industry Minister Arnaud Montebourg, who kicked off the week by saying Mittal is no longer wanted in France, says he's found a buyer for the whole site, including the part Mittal would like to keep.