Like many others, the company based in the Nord department is facing great difficulties due to soaring energy prices. The objective is to allow it to pass the winter.
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The State will release between forty and fifty million euros in favor of what is today the largest aluminum foundry in Europe, the Aluminum Dunkerque group, with 650 employees and some 200 subcontractors. The Loon-Plage site, near Gravelines, is beginning to be suffocated by constantly rising energy costs. The company, which produces 280,000 tonnes of aluminum per year, consumes 4Twh of electricity a year, which is practically the equivalent of a city like Marseille.
According to management, these forty to fifty million in public aid do not even compensate for a month of losses compared to current electricity prices. Aluminum Dunkerque has already been forced to reduce its production by 20% but does not envisage technical unemployment, unless the situation continues or even worsens.
Aluminum Dunkerque is not alone in this situation. The French steel mill Ascoval based in Saint-Saulve (Nord) announces that it will also reduce its steel production by at least 50% between October and December, for the same reasons. If we look more broadly in Europe, since the fall the entire industry has already reduced its aluminum production by one million tonnes, around 50% of its capacity.
The aid that the French State is about to release for Aluminum Dunkerque is part of the support fund launched in July and intended for companies that are having difficulty paying their energy bills. Other measures have been announced in other sectors by the Ministry of Economy and Finance, such as the possibility of revising the prices of current public contracts. It was a long-awaited measure. Also for public works, the threshold for advances granted to SMEs before the launch of works will be increased from 20 to 30%. A little oxygen to get through a winter that promises to be harsh for our industry.