The Italian government supports a joint bid by ArcelorMittal MT.AS and Marcegaglia group for the polluted Ilva steel plant in southern
Industry Minister Carlo Calenda has signed a decree backing the 1.8 billion euro ($2 billion) offer from the world's largest steelmaker and Marcegaglia for
The commissioners running Ilva said last month the ArcelorMittal consortium had won the bidding but unions opposed the thousands of layoffs involved in its plan. A rival consortium led by
Under the plan presented by the ArcelorMittal consortium, called Am Investco
Up to 4,100 of those to be laid off will be eligible for state unemployment support. Am Investco has said it was open to trying to reduce the number of job losses in the near term, the ministry said.
The next step in the sale process involves the environment ministry examining Am Investco's plans for cleaning up the site. Once the ministry issues its decree, expected during autumn this year, the deal must be approved by the European Union.
Steel production will remain at 6 million tonnes a year during the clean-up of the site, which magistrates sequestered in 2012 amid allegations its emissions were causing abnormally high cancer rates.
ArcelorMittal chief executive Lakshmi Mittal said in a statement that the company "will work with all interested parties to guarantee Ilva, its workers and the regions where it operates a better, more stable and sustainable future."
By 2024, Am Investco aims to have boosted output to the full 8 million tonnes Ilva is authorised to produce, the statement said, using three of Ilva's original five furnaces. The plan also includes a pledge to invest about 2.4 billion euros in technology and environmental improvements....