New Italian legislation to prevent ArcelorMittal Italia exit?

The Italian government has approved a new decree this week including some specific laws related to the future of the Taranto plant of ArcelorMittal Italia, the former Ilva. Market sources hope the new legislation will be enough to convince ArcelorMittal Italia to continue operating despite the group’s earlier threats to abandon the facility on 6 September. The steelmaker has still not officially commented, however.

The Italian minister for economic development, Luigi Di Maio, explained that the new laws tie the legal safeguards for ArcelorMittal to the planned achievements of the environmental plan for the mill. He added that ArcelorMittal will be able to operate, but will be forced to meet the deadlines. Other observers suggest conversely that the latest law confirms the existing degree of protection for ArcelorMittal from the previous legislation, despite earlier threats made by the Italian government to remove the legal safeguard completely.

While ArcelorMittal is believed to be studying the documents before issuing a comment, sources close to the situation note that the Italian authorities appear committed to ensuring that the plant remains operational, Kallanish understands.

At the end of June ArcelorMittal specifically explained that it would relinquish control of the former Ilva plant if the legal safeguards for the company were removed by the Italian authorities.

Since that time, many in the European flat products market have been monitoring ArcelorMittal Italia as the mill reduced output and its future remained uncertain. Sources in Spain, for example, note that ArcelorMittal has been waiting to understand what steel output from Italy would be after the summer, before implementing planned production cuts at its Spanish plants.