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Sarkozy calls 'friend' L N Mittal

January 25, 2008 15:19 IST

French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Friday said he has called his "friend" and India-born billionaire Lakshmi N Mittal to explain job losses from a proposed shutdown of one of ArcelorMittal's plants in that country.

"He is my friend. We are not in the habit of calling the captains of companies. I have known him (for long). But I told him that we want to discuss these jobs issue. Why these choices were made and how to maintain production," Sarkozy said, while a joint press conference with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Mittal is to meet either Sarkozy or Prime Minister Francois Fillon in the next few days to discuss the planned closure, French Minister for Companies and Business Henri Novelli had said earlier this week.

ArcelorMittal, the world's largest steelmaker, had on January 16 announced closure of its Gandrange plant in eastern France by early next year, potentially affecting 600 jobs. The company had said that relocation of affected employees would be its priority and every employee would be offered a "solution".

Sarkozy sought to project business-friendly approach of his government, saying Indian companies were welcome to invest in France. "We have constructive dialogue with businesses and Indian companies are more than welcome to France and the reverse is also true," he said. 

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