ArcelorMittal reiterates commitment to Ilva

ArcelorMittal Italia chief executive Lucia Morselli says the company intends to comply with the agreement signed on 4 March with the Italian government for the relaunch of former Italian steelmaker Ilva.

This is in response to the latest declarations by Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and economic development minister Stefano Patuanelli that ArcelorMittal’s latest industrial plan for Ilva is “…unacceptable.” These comments triggered speculation that the steelworks could be nationalised through state financial body Invitalia (see Kallanish passim).

In a televised interview seen by Kallanish, Morselli says there was “…a good climate” at the meeting between the company and authorities earlier this week. The government becoming a shareholder in the steelmaker could be done in the presence of ArcelorMittal, and it would support the plant’s relaunch, she added.

However, the allocation of shares between the public and private partner has yet to be decided, Morselli continued. She also reiterated the need to make 3,150 redundancies and cut the former Ilva workforce from 10,700 employees to 7,500. She did not mention, however, the 1,600 employees on furlough from the previous administration.

The Covid-19 crisis has compromised future demand forecasts. “European steel production has decreased by -50% while 40% of steelmaking facilities are still closed in Europe,” Morselli explained.

ArcelorMittal Italia has asked the Italian government for a grant of €200 million ($225m) and a loan of €600m that the company will pay back in two years following the finalisation of the sale. Morselli also stated that the company is respecting the roadmap for the environmental plan, and by 2023 it will have invested €1.2 billion. “Ilva will be saved. It is already saved,” Morselli concluded.