Former Ilva, Urso in the Senate: “Unacceptable shared management with ArcelorMittal in the minority”

As for the former Ilva, “there is an urgent need for a drastic intervention that marks a clear turning point compared to the unexciting events of the last 10 years”. So the Minister of Trade and Made in Italy, Adolfo Urso, during a briefing to the Senate. “We are in a decisive moment that calls everyone to a sense of responsibility,” he said. Let’s go back to the sender with the hypothesis that the private partner – ArcelorMittal – falls into the minority (does not bring new resources to the group), but maintains joint management with the state, which would take full responsibility for the new recapitalization.

Workers and plants at risk

Urso’s intervention arrives on the day they are expected at Palazzo Chigi unions to evaluate the fate of the steel plant and after the visit of the carabinieri of the Operational Environmental Unit to the offices of Taranto to obtain documents on the emissions of the plant. The future of 10,600 workers at the group’s factories, mostly owned by ArcelorMittal, is on the table at the summit, and Invitalia is pushing for an injection of new cash.

Gozzi (Federacciai): “The European steel industry needs an industrial plan, otherwise it risks its demise”

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The latest phase of the convoluted corporate story came on Monday when a summit between the government and private partners collapsed. The public sector proposed to the company’s top management a capital increase of 320 million euros, which would give Invitalia a majority, as well as the provision of resources to ensure operational continuity. From the top, however, Palazzo Chigi received the unavailability of ArcelorMittal to provide resources. In addition, according to Invitalia, another billion is needed to take over the power plants from the commissioners by the end of May. Subsequently, the Indian steel giant has hinted that it is willing to become a minority shareholder if it retains equal control. The scenarios that are opening up are those of emergency or managed administration, with the exchange rate puzzle at the top of the Acciaierie d’Italia and litigation scenarios that risk further production shutdowns in the future.

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Urso: “No commitments kept, change crew”

Urso himself made it clear that the ArcelorMittal (minority but shared management) proposal was not acceptable. “Arcelor Mittal has declared that it is willing to accept a minority, but will not contribute financially according to its share, releasing the entire financial burden on the State, but at the same time claiming the privileges granted in the original agreements between the shareholders concluded when it gave life to the Acciaierie d’Italia to in any case, she shared the administration and thus influenced any further decisions. Which is neither acceptable nor feasible both in substance and in light of European state aid restrictions”.

Urso’s line is therefore counting on a change of management: “We intend to reverse the course by changing the crew – he said in the Senate – We are determined to rebuild the former competitor Ilva on green technology, on which Italian steel plants, the first in Europe, are already involved”. He recalled the figures of the industrial crisis: “The plant is in a serious crisis situation. In 2023, production will be less than 3 million tonnes, the same as in 2022, well below the minimum target of 4 million, and this year it will rise to 5 million.” And on that, he then attacked: “None of this , what was planned was not achieved. None of the commitments made regarding employment levels and industrial recovery have been kept.”

“severely unbalanced” shareholder agreements

Urso then went back to past decisions and pointed a finger at a specific moment in the story: “The decision to remove the criminal shield put ArcelorMittal in a position of strength vis-à-vis the government. Faced with the threat of leaving the place and in the absence of alternatives in March 2020 Conte 2 government, minister Patuanelli, is starting new negotiations with Franco-Indian investors, which will give birth to Acciaierie d’Italia with Invitalia’s entry at 38% and the signing of shareholder agreements strongly unbalanced in favor of a private entity.” “Agreements that need to be defined because leonine is a euphemism – Urso clarifies – No one who cares about national interests would ever sign this type of agreement. No one with any knowledge of industrial dynamics would ever accept these terms.”

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