L'autre information du Nord – Pas-de-Calais

Arc International and its long descent into hell (1): what’s going on at the former crystal glassworks at Arques?

DailyNord en anglais Par | 21 octobre 2013


The arrival of a director renowned for chopping jobs, 1,900 out of 6,700 employees put on a short working week, four out of the five furnaces shut down for fifteen days at the end of the year: in the Audomarois region, one of the region’s industrial flagships, Arc International, a leader in glass tablewear, appears to be going through one of the worst rough patches in its history.

As the old saying goes, « Bad news always comes in threes. » But for Arc International, you could even say that it comes by the boatload in 2013. At the beginning of June, the group announced a deficit of 3.7 million Euros for 2012 (sales turnover having fallen from 1.1 billion in 2011 to 978 million Euros last year). Even if the situation is far removed from 2009 (with a deficit of 33 million Euros), it’s nothing to write home about.

At the end of last July, the axe fell. The Arques production site was forced to put 1,900 employees on a 4-day working week from September to December. That was the first hammer blow. Then management threw out the former Chairman of the Board, Guillaume de Fougières, at the helm since 2009, and replaced him with the Patrick Puy with his reputation for « chopping jobs », the « surgeon for companies in difficulty » as literally named by Capital magazine (click here to see the article in French). Second hammer blow.


From the trade unions’ point of view, this change signals « a change of shareholder strategy« . The supposition is that the banks, who have lent much money in the last few years, have put pressure on management to send a « clear message » as one says in politics. Since then, a hold on investment and the shutdown of most of the furnaces for two weeks in December has been announced. And the closing down of the company offices in Lille and Paris…

The divestment of Arc Distribution France (ADF) last year did not help either to redress the financial situation. Guillaume De Fougières himself admits that it « disrupted things especially at the larger end of the retail market « , as he explains in the columns of La Voix du Nord (click here to see the pay per view article).


« It’s a vicious circle, Joel Specque of the CGT trade union explains. The less we produce, the less we are able to sell and and so have less revenue to pay off debts. Cuts have also been made in marketing. For a long time, oversized egos did not really take into account echos from people working in the field. » For the trade unionist, the Arc factory site has done everything in its power. « From an industrial point of view, production, quality and service are good. We are always in search of improvement « . As for the management of Arc International, they have not been reachable to answer our questions before publication of this article.

What are the politicians doing in the meantime? Michel Lefait, member of the French National Assembly » is waiting for Patrick Puy’s proposals before speaking » he confided to the Voix du Nord last Saturday. To the disgust of Elisabeth Jacques of the CFE-CGC trade union who is waiting resolutely for him to defend the region’s jobs. As for Arnaud Montebourg, the Minister for Industrial Regeneration, Arc International is not « in danger « . « Without condoling or condemning what Patrick Puy has done in the past, all that is asked of him today is to redress the company« , Elisabeth Jacques insists. « If Arc International Arc goes under, the whole Audomarois region will pay the price « .

Also read (in French):

Arc international, une si longue descente aux enfers (2) : comment en est-on arrivé-là ?



 Click here to see the original article in French

Ce contenu est © DailyNord. Si cet article vous intéresse, vous pouvez reprendre un extrait sur votre site (n’excédant pas la moitié de l’article) en citant bien évidemment la source. Si vous désirez publier l’intégralité de l’article, merci de nous contacter »

Réagir à cet article

La rédaction de DailyNord modère tous les commentaires, ce qui explique qu'ils n'apparaissent pas immédiatement (le délai peut être de quelques heures). Pour qu'un commentaire soit validé, nous vous rappelons qu'il doit être en corrélation avec le sujet, constructif et respectueux vis-à-vis des journalistes comme des précédents commentateurs. Tout commentaire qui ne respecterait pas ce cadre ne sera pas publié. Evidemment, DailyNord ne publiera aucun contenu illicite. N'hésitez pas à avertir la rédaction à info(at)dailynord.fr (remplacer le "at" par "@") si vous jugiez un propos ou contenu illicite, diffamatoire, injurieux, xénophobe, etc.