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Government awaiting Arcelor Mittal’s moves in the shareholders’ meeting of Acciaierie d’Italia (formerly Ilva) on 6 December and once again urged by the metalworking unions to make a change to the dossier. It is always a question of understanding whether the private shareholder, who holds the majority (62%), is willing to provide the company with the urgent financial support it needs to avoid collapse. A step that the minority public shareholder (Invitalia with 38%) was ready to take before November 28th (the date of the last meeting which then decided to adjourn to November 6th) but on the condition, upon Government directive, that the private assumed its proportional share. Availability that was not expressed.
Requirement of 320 million
The immediate requirement is calculated at 320 million. It is unlikely that the Government will be able to take an initiative in the few days remaining until Wednesday the 6th. In the executive there are two lines left: to bring the State to a majority, 60%, without waiting for May 2024 (which would be regaining share), or to continue to negotiate with Mittal, given that a memorandum of understanding was signed in September. The first was stated months ago by Adolfo Urso (Minister of Business), the second is expressed by Raffaele Fitto (Minister of European Affairs, South, Cohesion and Pnrr), who also signed the memorandum with Mittal and Acciaierie (it was not but Invitalia was involved).
We are thinking about stopping blast furnace 2
Meanwhile, in recent weeks, a request for information on the state of the plants has arrived from the ministries concerned to Ilva in extraordinary administration (owner of the plants, leased to Acciaierie). Taranto’s steel industry is currently running at a minimum: two out of three blast furnaces (2nd and 4th, while 1st has been shut down since August) and one out of two steelworks (2nd while 1st is inactive). However, this pace could be further slowed down as the company (union sources indicate) is considering shutting down another blast furnace (it could be number 2).
The evaluation would concern when to leave and for how long. A choice which, if made, would have repercussions on other plants, would bring the factory to an all-time low of just one blast furnace and could be read as Mittal’s attempt to force the ongoing negotiation.
The letter from the unions
In a letter sent on 30 November to Prime Minister Meloni, to the ministers Fitto, Giorgetti, Calderone and Urso and to the CEO of Invitalia, Bernardo Mattarella, the leaders of Fim, Fiom and Uilm say that «the time that will pass until the next meeting, scheduled for December 6th, will lead to a further worsening of the steel group, already collapsing due to a failed management, with deterioration of the plants, safety conditions and the suffering of thousands of families and direct workers, already severely tested by the shock absorbers social networks that have been used for years to raise cash and not allow production to rise, as well as in the world of procurement and Ilva workers in extraordinary administration”. Requested “an urgent call to receive an update on the dispute and on the decisions that the Government intends to take”.