Some Italian steelmakers to continue production despite decree

The Italian government is closing all ‘non-essential activities’ from 23 March until 3 April. The country’s industrial association Confindustria however is negotiating with authorities to keep some companies up and running. This is to guarantee a reduced level of activity to limit the impact of the country’s economic slump and liquidity crisis, informed sources tell Kallanish.Some steelmakers, notably Arvedi and ArcelorMittal Italia, are continuing to produce.

In a letter to the government seen by Kallanish, Confindustria president Vincenzo Boccia is asking for an exception to the revised closure decree for “… sectors that cannot be interrupted for technical reasons, for example those with continuous casting equipment.” Boccia has also stressed in the letter the importance of the continuity of production and maintenance activities. He has asked prime minister Giuseppe Conte to immediately address the issue of lack of liquidity “… to prevent irreversible consequences” for Italian companies.

The revised Italian decree however specifies that “… production activities from continuous cycle equipment are allowed”. Italian steelmaker ArcelorMittal Italia is therefore allowed to continue producing at its Taranto works. The trade unions however have asked the company to anticipate a meeting initially scheduled on 24 March to discuss further developments and may urge the authorities to shut down production.

Flats’ producer Arvedi meanwhile tells Kallanish that the company is also continuing to produce. With reference to the revised decree “… as communicated to the Prefects of the respective provinces in which it operates – [… Arvedi’s] production activities continue in full compliance with the decree itself and all the safety measures already put in place by the group for several weeks to protect all of its workers,” the company says.

Other steel players who are still producing are supplying those sectors that are considered essential by the government and are guaranteeing deliveries only to those buyers. “… Recession will be strong in Italy this year. We have reduced output and we are resisting by implementing enforced holidays and temporary closures for sanitising work but customers are shutting down, the ones still standing cannot pay and the economy will feel a strong deterioration in the second quarter,” one steel industry source tells Kallanish.