Italian Government Hopefull for Ilva Future
S&P Global Platts reported that the agreement on ArcelorMittal Italia's future, the largest Italian steel producer, is closed to be signed. Sigannling that
ArcelorMittal will remain a shareholder in the steelmaker, Italian Prime MinisterMr Giuseppe Conte on a video call at the presentation of the Association for the development of South Italy Svimez 2020 Report said “Just in these days we are defining the agreement with ArcelorMittal to complete the investment project in the name of a public-private partnership for the Ex Ilva of Taranto. We are offering an articulated plan to relaunch the Taranto site in a marked direction of the energy transition."
The declarations of Conte came just few hours after Italian national representative unions met with the CEO of ArcelorMittal Italia Lucia Morselli. According to union sources, Morselli also confirmed that that they are close to finalize the agreement. A union source who was present during the meeting told S&P Global Platts “AM is likely to stay with the government that will enter in the company but we have no idea yet about the percentage, neither about the industrial plan. That is the reason we still want to call a strike,"
Last week the Italian unions called two hours of strike on November 25 to call for a responsible future of the Italy's largest steel plant and to be included in the negotiation with ArcelorMittal.
At stake there are the jobs of around 10,700 workers at the plant, which is why it is so important for the Italian government to keep the company operational. ArcelorMittal agreed to buy Ilva in 2018 under a lease-and-purchase agreement for Eur1.8 billion and to invest another Eur2.4 billion to clean up and modernize the plant, which has been dogged by environmental issues. Following legal issues with the Italian state, ArcelorMittal in early March reached an accord with Italian authorities over the future of the former Ilva group, amending the existing lease and purchase agreement. The agreement left ArcelorMittal with the right to withdraw from its Ilva purchase by the end of November 2020, subject to the payment of a fine of EUR 500 million. The lease-and-purchase agreement may extend until May 2022.
Italy's agency for investment promotion and enterprise development, is the government arm Invitalia, will be used to enter in the partnership. Last week, Invitalia's spokesman, confirmed to Platts that Invitalia could take ownership of the former Ilva with not a minority stake and this would include modernizing both Blast Furnace 5, the largest in Europe, with a production capacity of around 3.5 million tonnes per year and idled in 2015, and Blast Furnace 1, still in operation. In addition, two electric-arc furnaces would be introduced to the steel plant, to maintain a production capacity of 8 million tonnes per year, a move probably capable of maintaining current employment levels.