France announces plan to save steel site that was source of protests, symbol for jobs

France's prime minister says there will be no layoffs at a blast furnace site in northeast France and that owner, steel company ArcelorMittal, has promised to invest €180 million ($233.75 million).

Friday's announcement caps months of tension over the future of the site where the jobs of more than 600 people were at stake.

Jean-Marc Ayrault put to rest rumors the government would nationalize the site at Florange. Instead, he said in a televised announcement that ArcelorMittal had made an "unconditional" agreement to the site and that the government would keep watch for "non-respect" of the agreement.

The prime minister said the furnaces will be maintained while awaiting development there of a gas recycling project that would make the industry competitive.

Florange has not showed a loss, but hasn't performed like other ArcelorMittal sites.