Vallourec held a European Works Council meeting on 23 June 2015 in Lille to discuss the Group's industrial plant adaptation project. By holding these consultation meetings from the initial stages of the legal information process, Vallourec management reiterated its willingness to carry out this project with the same spirit of dialogue and the involvement of all stakeholders, the first of whom are its employee representatives.
This second meeting was an opportunity to give an in-depth presentation regarding the difficult market and structurally changing environment in which the Group operates, and to provide a reminder regarding the content of the project in France and Germany, including in particular:
The ongoing rationalization and specialization of the tube mills
The search for a majority partner for the Saint-Saulve steel mill
Vallourec confirmed that it was not considering a tube mill closure.
The potential impact of these measures on the Group's various sites was also discussed and would involve, as already stated in late April, 1,500 positions in Europe by 2017, including 550 positions in France (excluding the steel mill in Saint-Saulve).
Among the 550 potentially affected positions in France, this would affect approximately 165 positions from the sites within the Sambre area, including 100 at the Aulnoye-Aymeries tube mill, and approximately 115 positions from the sites within the Valenciennes region, including 50 at the Saint-Saulve tube mill (northern France) ; 100 positions would be affected at the tube mill in Déville-lès-Rouen (Haute-Normandie). The other 170 positions would come from the remaining French sites, including headquarters.
In Germany, 560 positions could be cut in consultation with German employee representatives.
However, the age pyramid of the Group in France, combined with its average natural attrition, as well as internal mobility, should minimize the social impact of the proposed changes. « Every effort will be made to avoid forced redundancies », repeated Philippe Crouzet, Chairman of the Management Board of Vallourec.
Vallourec also reiterated its full commitment to the search for a majority partner for its steel mill in Saint-Saulve with a view to developing new opportunities. A project manager has been appointed. Around twenty industrial players have been identified with the help of the state and its satellite bodies, expressions of interest have already been received and visits have been organized. The greatest attention will be paid to the quality of industrial project proposals.
Finally, as previously announced in late April, the Group is planning to create shared service centers in order to increase the flexibility and efficiency of resources that are committed to supporting affected services, and thus reducing structural costs across the world. To this end, a European center based in France could be set up. This would combine the finance/procurement businesses. Naturally, the Nord region will be among the prime candidates to host this platform.