« I am stunned ”, Sandrine reacts. This nurse, employee of the Aveyron company of metallurgy (SAM) of Viviez, in the old coal basin of Decazeville (Aveyron), cannot believe her eyes. Tuesday in the early evening, from her house in Querbes, a hamlet located about twenty kilometers from this factory which manufactures auto parts, she frantically reads the press articles on the Internet that mention Renault’s refusal to support the ‘unique takeover offer, carried by Patrick Bellity, the former manager of this foundry until June 2016.
Taken over in 2017 by the Chinese group Jinjiang, SAM, located in Viviez on the heights of Decazeville, had been placed in receivership on December 10, 2019, then, on September 16, 2021, in liquidation with continued activity until December 10.
« It’s just blah, reassures Sandrine. You can’t write stuff like that to kill jobs. It sounds hollow and it’s scandalous ”, she thunders, carried away by anger. Julien, he said to himself “Disgusted” if the SAM closes its doors definitively, leaving 340 jobs behind. “For morale, I do not project myself and I am not looking for work”, still hopes the young team leader.
Didier, a handler for thirty-seven years and close to retirement, is no longer harboring illusions. “At my age, I don’t expect anything anymore. This situation has been allowed to drag on for two years. All the foundries are closing. A decision was needed in high places ”, he regrets, lucid.
“Strong doubts about financial soundness”
Tuesday, at the end of the day, it is by the voice of a press release that Renault, the only customer of the SAM, clarifies its position with regard to this takeover offer, and shower, at the same time , the slim hope of employees. “Renault Group cannot commit to the Alty-Sifa takeover project” , indicates the manufacturer, who motivates his decision by the financial fragility of this application. “This offer does not present the conditions of sustainability and security necessary for the company and its employees. There are strong doubts about the financial soundness despite the external financial support envisaged, and the real investment and recovery capacities of Jinjiang SAM by Alty-Sifa. »
A source familiar with the matter goes further, claiming that “This project, not viable, is carried by a buyer who has demonstrated that it is not credible”. “For once, Renault is right in its boots and assumes what the government and elected officials do not dare to recognize during an election period. ”
Patrick Bellity is offended. “I can’t believe it. We walk on the head. You believe that employees, whose average age is 54, will leave their families to go and work at the Flins factory (Yvelines), in Romania or in Turkey? This decision is hogwash. We don’t give a damn about the world ”, he enraged, deploring the « billion offered by the State to the group without compensation ”.
“I did my job for eighteen years, I’m coming back to save SAM. We do not ask Renault for a penny of investment and, in addition, I have financial guarantees “, Explains Mr. Bellity. A few months ago, he proposed a first takeover offer, refused by Renault for the same reason.
State and regional support
However, the second version obtained financial support from the State, Renault’s minority shareholder: aid of one million euros and a loan of 4.7 million euros. “The State regrets that no industrial project has been presented at this stage, comments Bercy. But we do not directly take a management decision for Renault. ”
The Occitanie region (PS) also provided support to Mr. Bellity: 900,000 euros in grants and a loan of 2.4 million over six years.
“Renault’s response is irresponsible and destructive: it condemns the plant and its activities”, laments Carole Delga, its president, who announces the deployment of training systems to support employees. “We will continue the work carried out to ensure that future industrial projects see the light of day in the region. The region will not let you down! »Promises Mme Delga.
Neither the round table of 9 million euros, nor the relentless mobilization of employees to save their factory have influenced Renault’s decision. Also, in the absence of a buyer, the Toulouse commercial court will set a new hearing date on Friday November 26 to extend the continuation of SAM’s activity for a maximum period of three months. Or pronounce its liquidation. “We will react, Sandrine promises. We’re gonna do whatever it takes. We have nothing more to lose, we will go to the end. “