Italian PM Promises to Block ArcelorMittal’s Ilva Exit
“We would all lose if there were a legal battle, but should it happen, it will be the legal battle of the century,” Conte said on state television, according to the Reuters news service.
ArcelorMittal announced Monday that it would hand back the keys to Ilva and its Taranto works after the government rescinded ArcelorMittal’s immunity to criminal liabilities tied to past pollution at the site.
The immunity was part of ArcelorMittal’s 2018 agreement to buy the steel company. As part of that deal, ArcelorMittal was operating the plant under lease from the government and had promised to acquire it outright later.
According to Reuters, Conte said the immunity issue is a pretense for walking away from the deal. The real reason, he said, is that ArcelorMittal cannot justify its investment at current production levels.
But ArcelorMittal has said the removal of legal protections, coupled with a court order to complete certain tasks by what it called an impossible-to-meet deadline or be forced to shut down a blast furnace, impairs its ability to execute on its plans for the plant.
In the meantime, the company reportedly has stopped making quotes and accepting orders for December and January sales, according to S&P Global Platts.