The Liège Commercial Court devoted a long hearing on Tuesday to the case of Liberty Steel and the takeover of its assets, with a decision now reportedly expected on Friday.
Three takeover offers have been made. Two of these offers are partial and have been made by steel giant ArcelorMittal (which would take over 127 workers), the owner before Liberty’s arrival in 2019 and by the NLMK/Marcegaglia consortium (which would take over 97 people). These potential buyers are interested in the Flémalle site. A third bid was submitted by Liberty Steel, via its Romanian subsidiary Liberty Galati, for all of the assets and 582 workers.
Several criteria are to be taken into account to determine the buyer, such as the industrial plan, the financial plan and the takeover bids. Furthermore, the court will be looking into the discriminatory or non-discriminatory nature of the criteria of age and health of the workers in the selection made.
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“The auditor considers that none of the three bids should be retained. Those of ArcelorMittal and NLMK/Marcegaglia because they are discriminatory, and the third because Liberty Galati does not provide the necessary guarantees. This would be a decision that would lead to bankruptcy. This is not what we expected,” said Jordan Atanasov, Regional Secretary of CSC.
The hearing on Tuesday took place in a packed room with the presence of at least 150 workers interested in the verdict that will be known Friday.