Metinvest targets Piombino for future mill: sources

Metinvest is rumoured to be targeting Piombino in Tuscany as the location of its future Italian coil plant. Informed sources say the steelmaker is in talks with government officials to take over the troubled long steelmaking mill owned by India’s JSW.

According to rumours unsubstantiated by the company, Metinvest representatives visited the mill in Piombino and had a meeting with authorities at the Ministry of Enterprises and Made in Italy in Rome regarding a possible takeover.

In July, Italian equipment maker Danieli said it will create a joint venture with the Ukrainian producer to build a new steelmaking plant in Italy to produce low-emission coils (see Kallanish passim).

Danieli president Gianpietro Benedetti said in a joint note that feasibility studies were underway to select the right location for the future mill that will see an investment of €2 billion ($2.1 billion), financed by a pool of public and private European financial institutions.

Last year, Metinvest management visited the area around Porto Nogaro, northern Italy, for a series of meetings with regional authorities and Benedetti. Metinvest refused to comment at the time, as the final investment decision was yet to be reached. Several city councils around Porto Nogaro however voted against the construction of the plant.

Last year, JSW Steel chairman Sajjan Jindal said in an interview with the Financial Times his firm planned to sell its Italian division, which is not performing to expectations. Sources said JSW would keep and revamp the rail mill in Piombino, while selling the remaining assets.

JSW Steel acquired Piombino in 2018 from Algerian group Cevital. It was previously known as Aferpi and, before that, Lucchini. Together with the acquisition of Piombino Logistics and 69.27% of GSI Lucchini, the deal cost €55 million, on a cash-free, debt-free basis.

In its heyday, the Piombino site produced 2 million tonnes/year of steel.

Metinvest did not reply to request for comment before press deadline.

Natalia Capra France