Heuliez, the french contract manufacturer, has been loosing money for several years now. The firm should have closed down already, if it weren’t for the heavy political support going around it. You might argue whether this support was justified, as many other firms have been going bust without any politician looking. But Heuliez is a pretty emblematic business, located where a former candidate to France’s presidency has its roots. Since that person, Mrs Segolene Royal, is still a prominent a figure in french politics, a failure of Heuliez just could not happen. A french maverick entrepreneur, Louis Petiet, was chosen for a takeover of Heuliez last year, but that failed when he didn’t show up with the money he promised to relaunch the company.
A new man was to be found, and that’s when a turkish came. His name is Alphan Manas, and he’s a pretty well-known businessman in his country. But to most french people like me, the idea that a turkish guy is coming to save a french company is a astonishment. Nobody had expected that! Also surprising, he will get state support. He will receive 10 millions euros (more than $13 millions) in public funds. The french taxpayers will pay a turkish man to takeover a french company!
But this will save jobs. And the french public agency which will give the money, the FSI, will get in return some kind of golden shares in the new company, with the power to block any decision that would result in job losses. A non binding memorandum of understanding has been signed yesterday, and the deal shall be finalised within the month. We’ll wait and see.
Our picture shows the future of the company, the Mia, a small electric car that was shown in prototype form at the Geneva motorshow 2 weeks ago.