in the Indre, the workers of the Alvance Wheels foundry are waiting for a buyer before Christmas

Cold cuts, cigarettes and strong coffee are lined up on a camping table set between two white vans. This Thursday, December 9, those who debauchery and join the parking lot stop there. “We celebrate Christmas before the hour, because tomorrow, no one will be there, we will start a new period of partial unemployment”, says one of the 287 workers (the people named whose name does not appear wished to remain anonymous) of the only aluminum rim factory in France, located in Diors (Indre), on the site of a former American military base, in the heart of the Berry Champagne region.

Since April, Alvance Wheels – ex-Liberty Wheels, ex-F2R, and ex-Montupet – is once again in receivership. The event comes after the bankruptcy in March of British bank Greensill, a partner of Sanjeev Gupta’s group, GFG Alliance, to which Alvance Wheels belongs.

Two letters of intent from potential buyers were sent to the Paris Commercial Court in June: “But either the project was not funded, or the buyer was outside the automotive industry. In short, everything to crack your mouth. We were more afraid for them than for us ”, remembers a foundry veteran. Then a more credible candidate, supported by Bercy, came forward: the French equipment manufacturer Saint-Jean Industries, with 1,900 employees and eight production sites throughout the world.

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“At one time, Saint-Jean had in its bosom the Fonderie du Poitou Fonte [fermée cet été], which originally belonged to Renault. The two have always worked together ever since! It’s a pretty good sign ”, assures Christophe Bouvet, CFDT delegate of the company and machining operator for twenty-one years.

In case of takeover by Saint-Jean, the historic builder promises to be there: “Renault undertakes to consult the new company (…), thus enabling it to access a production volume of up to 500,000 wheels per year for the benefit of Renault ”, said a press release dated November 23. Which indicated, further on, giving up support for the takeover project of another subcontractor, the Aveyron company of metallurgy of Decazeville, in Viviez (Aveyron), which has since been liquidated …

“This effort owes a lot to the dignity of the employees”

On November 19, the Center region pledged to release 5 million euros to support the takeover of Alvance Wheels: 3 million in the form of a loan, 2 million directly injected into the treasury. The Châteauroux Métropole agglomeration will provide up to 150,000 euros. “This effort owes a lot to the dignity of the employees”, believes Gil Avérous, its president, and also LR mayor of Châteauroux. “In recent months, all elected officials and representatives of public authorities have been able to make site visits and speak freely. There was no stress and even no threat of damaging the work tool. This is not the mentality of the people back home. We really wanted potential buyers to understand that employees were not enemies or opponents, on the contrary. “

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