Steel for Sale

The Italian government is planning on selling the Ilva steel plant in Taranto, Italy between January 10th and February 10th. Currently, this plant is the largest production center for steel and iron in Europe (European Commission, 1). This fact has not stopped government officials from seeking out potential buyers. There are multiple groups in the bidding process coming from Italy and Switzerland. The Italian-based companies are Marcegaglia and the Arvedi Group, while the Swiss-based companies are Duferco and ArcelorMittal (The Local – Italy, 1).

Federica Guidi, the Economic Development Minister of Italy, stated that any sales agreement would require the new owner to: respect environmental regulations, protect the jobs of the plant’s Italian workforce, and continue steel production. Also, the Italian government will loan the new owner three hundred million euros to help out in the transitional phase. This goes to show that the plant has been vital to Italy’s economy. In the past, Ilva has been able to produce up to nine million tons of steel a year. Analysts computed this to be approximately one-third of Italy’s total steel production. (The Local – Italy, 1). Despite all of this optimistic news, some groups feel that the sale may never go through. Market analysts believe that a surplus of steel in the global market may drive away potential buyers. Furthermore, the Italian newspaper La Repubblica believes that the steel plant is not worth investing in. According to their research, the Ilva plant is currently losing sixteen million euros every month and recently had one of its furnaces impounded for violations (The Local – Italy, 1). This truth is just the tip of the iceberg for the problems Ilva has had in the past and present.

The European Union has criticized the plant in the past for outdated permits, poor waste management, and failing to fulfill industrial emissions standards set by EU legislation. As a result, heavy pollution had been found around the Ilva steel plant and in the city of Taranto (European Commission, 1). Also, in October of 2015, a large and public trial took place over pollution that was reported to have caused the untimely deaths of about four hundred people. Politicians, officials, and industrialists were blamed for overlooking the problems at Ilva. Despite this, many Italians in nearby cities do not want the plant to close because it provides jobs for about fourteen thousand local residents (The Local – Italy, 1). Team Mint Condition will keep our readers updated on any news regarding sales agreements being made.

Bibliography

“European Commission: Press Release – Environment: European Commission Urges Italy to Address Severe Pollution Issues at Europe’s Biggest Steel Plant.” European Commission. 16 Oct. 2014. 

“Italy Opens Bidding for Polluting Steel Giant Ilva.” The Local (Italy). 05 Jan. 2016.

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