France has agreed to provide EUR10m (US$12.2m) in loans to the successful bidders for troubled French parts supplier Heuliez, in a deal that will secure 481 out of the current 600 posts.
The French industry minister Christian Estrosi announced the news today (30 June) as he also unveiled the consortium of Baelen de Gaillard Industries (BGI) group and its German partners Con Energy and Kohl had successfully acquired Heuliez.
But it appears the deal would not have gone through without intervention from the French State. Information from the industry ministry reveals unless the EUR10m was forthcoming "no takeover would have been possible."
Some EUR8m of this figure will be earmarked for electrical vehicle development, while Estrosi himself apparently intervened to release finance in a complex arrangement designed to maintain 90% of Heuliez's employees' net salary for one year.
The industry ministry maintains those workers would not have been taken on had it not stepped in to assist.
"This decision is good news," said Estrosi. "With most its business preserved and 481 jobs saved, Heuliez can henceforth turn to the future."
However, the minister turned his fire on unidentified players in the Heuliez situation, who in his view, have muddied the takeover waters.
"I think about the workers who have been led to leave Heuliez," he said. "Those who made political statements and false announcements have caused us to lose so much time and bear a heavy responsibility."
The Tribunal de Commerce de Niort had been deliberating a trio of offers for Heuliez, namely BGI, investment group Charles Mircher and Malaysian funds company Delamore and Owl.
BGI will now take over Heuliez's automotive sub-contracting work, while the electric vehicle part of the business will be handled by German partners Con Energy and Kohl.
Estrosi held several meetings with the bidders for Heuliez and will "very shortly" meet the directors of the successful Franco-German consortium.
The French industry ministry was not immediately available for comment, but is scheduled to reveal further details concerning the deal later.