The Dijon commercial court did not approve on March 31 the only takeover offer filed by the Italian shareholder of the Haut-Jura plant. An ultimatum is set for April 27. The worried employees went on strike to put pressure on the manufacturers.
The soap opera of the Haut-Jura foundry, will it end with a huge social disaster? Placed in receivership on November 4, 2020, MBF has since found no buyer. The Secko group, an American investment fund interested at one time, did not finally submit a takeover offer. MBF produces hybrid car housings and depends on the order book of French manufacturers PSA and Renault.
“The levers for the sustainability of MBF are no longer the responsibility of the employees, but depend directly on PSA and Renault, which did not respect the volume commitments initially planned. But unfortunately, it turns out that today, this disengagement on the part of the two manufacturers is an obstacle to the finalization of any takeover bids or the continuation plan of the current shareholder which could potentially perpetuate MBF and safeguard his jobs ” worries the inter-union CGT-Sud-CFDT of the site. Production and deliveries are at a standstill.
A continuity plan deemed unconvinced by the court
The Italian shareholder has submitted an offer which plans to take over 202 employees. An offer considered not sufficiently convincing by the court on the industrial, social, economic plan. Clearly, the Italian shareholder would not have a sufficient guarantee of orders from the manufacturers, the volume of employees retained would not be in line with the offer submitted. The unions therefore want their strike to challenge the builders. They claim that “Our markets initially affected will be returned to us to guarantee a future for all and an economic future for the Sanclaudian employment area already strongly affected by deindustrialization and job loss.”
The court set a new deadline of April 27. Either an external takeover offer is born, or the Italian shareholder reviews his project. Either it is the judicial liquidation and 280 dismissals. At a time when the covid crisis has raised the need to produce made in France, the key under the door of the MBF factory would become a political “bomb”, where French manufacturers would have a share of responsibility.
Between MBF and French manufacturers, the dialogue has grown in recent months
The MBF foundry was weakened by the decline in Renault’s order book. Between 2017 and 2019, it had invested 14 million euros to modernize the production tool and produce clutch housings for Renault hybrid vehicles. The diesel gate, the drop in sales of new vehicles, the covid crisis have all been there. The French manufacturer Renault, which was to order 350,000 parts per year, has revised its orders downwards with only 130,000 parts per year. The management of MBF had publicly pointed out the disengagement of French principals.
A report issued in June 2020 already threatened the future of the foundry
This report pointed to the possibility of saving the company, but by reducing its workforce by half to 150 employees. This study of the automobile foundry in France was commissioned by the General Directorate of Enterprises (DGE), at the service of the Ministry of the Economy and Finance.
The study carried out by the German firm Roland Berger was intended to analyze the potential of the French foundry sector, which represents a market in Europe of around 50 billion euros. “The restructuring of the foundry sector orchestrated by the contractors and the state has already been launched, the fatalistic study carried out by the Roland Berger firm on the foundry sector on the pretext of production overcapacity in France is undermining many foundries. This study fully illustrates the consequences of the strategies carried out in recent decades by the choice to relocate activities in low-cost countries in order to increase profits ” once again denounces the inter-union.