FRANCE: From Concubine to Bride

It is no secret that the French government does not share the philosophy of U.S. trustbusters—it actively encourages bigness in business. During the last few years mergers have melded the country's leading steel, glass and electronics manufacturers. This week the biggest industrial combine of all ($2.7 billion in sales) will be formed when a new stock issue unites two companies—Pechiney and Ugine Kuhlmann—that dominate Europe in the production of aluminum, stainless steel, specialty steels and nonferrous metals such as titanium, zirconium and tantalum.

The match was planned for more than a year by Pierre Jouven, Pechiney's chief, and Pierre Grézel,...

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