ArcelorMittal rules out operating Ilva plant until May

The European steel market continues to be affected by uncertainty over the future of global steelmaker ArcelorMittal’s Taranto plant in Italy, after the company denied claims that it will continue to operate the former Ilva operations until May.

ArcelorMittal rejected claims from local press reports and indications from market participants that it had confirmed to Puglia regional governor Michele Emiliano that it will operate the plant until May. The president of local industry association Confindustria Taranto, Antonio Marinaro, suggested yesterday that the steelmaker would operate the plant until May, after receiving a call from Emiliano.

But ArcelorMittal reiterated to Argus that it has asked the special commissioner to take back responsibility for Ilva within 30 days from the receipt of the company’s withdrawal letter, sent on 4 November.

ArcelorMittal Italia is still not offering product from Ilva, market participants said, despite the reports suggesting that it would run the plant until May to avoid a legal dispute with the government.

ArcelorMittal chief executive Lakshmi Mittal is expected to meet Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte in Rome in the coming days, although this could not be confirmed.

Domestic Italian hot-rolled coil prices have edged up this week as a result of anticipated production disruption. Argus‘ daily index was €389.75/t ex-works yesterday, up from €384/t on 7 November.

Colin Richardson