Expectations grow for Acciaierie d’Italia’s future

The meeting between Acciaierie d’Italia (ADI) joint venture partners state-owned Invitalia and ArcelorMittal has been rescheduled to 11 December. This comes after ArcelorMittal submitted a 12-page document to which Invitalia will have to respond, sources close to the matter say.

The government and the private partner are in advanced talks to relaunch the troubled steelmaker but are said to be clashing on the significant funds – €1 billion ($1.08 billion) – needed to release the steelmaker’s assets. These were seized previously by the extraordinary administrator of the former Ilva plant due to legal conundrums. An additional €320 million are needed to sort out the company’s immediate needs.

ArcelorMittal, the current majority shareholder, is said to be unwilling to sustain the costs given the heavy bureaucratic and legal difficulties that are weighing on the plant’s future. Invitalia is expected to become majority shareholder in 2024, while ArcelorMittal will retain a 40% shareholding.

In 2021, ArcelorMittal deconsolidated the assets and liabilities, including the remaining lease and purchase liability, of Acciaierie d’Italia Holding, formerly AM InvestCo Italy. On the other hand, Invitalia and the Italian government have been slow in making decisions and in paying the funds due.

Meanwhile, production in Taranto continues to be slow. Blast furnace no.2 is being idled from 4-11 December for maintenance work, meaning the plant is now only running BF no.4.

Last month, ADI Holding president Franco Bernabè urged the state and private partners to accelerate their decision-making process to save the troubled Italian steelmaker from insolvency. During a televised parliamentary hearing, Bernabè said that banks will not finance ADI because of its financial and legal woes. ADI operates using only its own cash flow, and every time cash is diverted it means less funds for raw materials.

“At every production cycle, the steelmaker is forced to reduce output. Without access to credit lines, the company will shut down because it is consuming itself,” Barnabé warned (see Kallanish passim).

According to sources, authorities are considering a future without ArcelorMittal and possibly with a partnership of local steelmakers ready to take over the plant despite its legal troubles. However, they would prefer to find a solution with ArcelorMittal.

ArcelorMittal declined to comment when contacted by Kallanish.

Natalia Capra France