The government releases up to 1 billion euros to support the crisis of the former Ilva group and allow Acciaierie d’Italia to face the liquidity crisis and reduce the heavy debt exposure to the main suppliers. To these resources, already foreseen with the Aid bis Decree, a further 680 million must be added, which will be able to be used “immediately”, therefore before 2024 as established last May, as a shareholder loan convertible into a future capital increase with which to bring the 60% stake of the State to which ArcelorMittal will contribute 70 million euros to reach a 40% stake. No bridging loan, therefore, but the activation of resources already provided for in support of the Taranto steelworks.
The decision taken tonight in the CDM comes with a decree law, 10 articles in all, which introduces urgent measures for plants of national interest. In the decree, and not only for the case of the former Ilva group but for all companies of strategic interest, the government restored the penal shield that the Conte government had canceled to reintroduce ‘conditions for the sustainability of the investment’ by establishing that the disqualification sanctions cannot be applied when they jeopardize the continuity of the activity carried out.
The provision gives substance to the new agreement between Invitalia and ArcelorMittal which sanctioned the possibility of a modification of the shareholders’ agreements which will affect crucial aspects such as shareholding and future governance. Downstream of all this, a series of commitments signed by the shareholders: relaunch of the production site and employment guarantees by setting production targets higher than those achieved by Adi in the last two years; industrial reconversion for a green plant and environmental remediation with the completion of the Hague on schedule; investments related to industrial development and the Taranto Pole, circular economy initiatives, activation of desalination plants through the recovery of fresh water from the Tara and Sinni rivers, and the development of the port through a floating Fsru degasification plant.
The government’s choice was not liked by the trade unions who would have liked to tie resources to punctual compliance with the commitments to relaunch production and job protection, in their opinion disregarded by the Mittal group.
“The approval of the provision for the former Ilva, which provides for a non-repayable loan of 680 million, is an unconditional surrender by the Government towards the multinational. A serious and irresponsible act, which has not listened to our cries of alarm” , articulates the Uilm leader, Rocco Palombella, pointing his finger at the 680 million granted “without a shred of industrial plan. A shame”. Harsh criticisms also from Fiom. “The decisions taken by the Council of Ministers do not respond to the requests made in terms of production or employment or the environment and health protection, but above all there is no response to the publicity request made by the trade union organizations against of corporate defaults, despite the allocation of 680 million euros decided today by the Government”, says Michele De Palma, general secretary of the CGIL blue overalls.
The CISL is decidedly softer, inviting us to “deepen the parts that condition the loan”. On 11 January, however, the unions will take to the streets in Rome, under Palazzo Chigi, to voice their opposition to the decree. On 19 January, on the other hand, a discussion table will open at Mimit: for that date, in fact, the Minister of Enterprise, Adolfo Urso, has convened the unions, local bodies and related businesses.