Redundancies and blast furnace Mittal plays the last cards


On one aspect there is no longer any doubt: at this point the restoration of the penal shield is not considered sufficient by ArcelorMittal to withdraw the announced farewell to Italy. It must also have been an alibi, but now the situation has changed: now the bar is higher. On the table there are also the redundancies, the story of the Altoforno 2 and the stop to new tightening or acceleration of the environmental plan. You can negotiate, but the margins are not large. The good news is that the table is not closed. It was not obvious. Those who know a little about how the billionaire patron of the Lakshmi Mittal group moves, argues that it is not a bluffer, who generally does not come back when he makes a decision. And he doesn't like the ultimatums ("The government gives 48 hours to reconsider and present a proposal"). But there are also those who, on the other hand, see in the mere fact that they wanted to be present personally at the table at Palazzo Chigi, the will to understand if there is space to avoid the legal battle of the century, as Conte himself defined .

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Ilva to the State, not to Gualtieri: the government deals with Arcelor

Not that the giant is afraid of passing papers to crowds of trained lawyers, he certainly does not lack the resources; it is more a reputational question: leaving Italy, the second European manufacturing country, after just a year on charges of not respecting the agreements, is not a medal for a colossus that plays on the world chessboard. And then Lakshmi Mittal – or whoever for him – probably already on Monday will return to the table with the government, but will not present proposals, will wait instead to understand which are those of the government. In short, it will be a very difficult game of chess. To persuade Mittal to remain, the criminal shield – although not sufficient – will still have to be reintroduced. For the blast furnace 2 the right of use must be guaranteed. A point that could have short answers: the extraordinary commissioners had a meeting with the head prosecutor of Taranto the other day, they explained to him what was done and how much is still missing, and now – evidently confident after the meeting in power of attorney – they say they are ready to submit a request to extend the right of use for another year. The company will almost certainly also ask for a discount on the rent. Meanwhile, as revealed by the specialized website, the group has not yet paid the last installment of the first year (the fee is set at 180 million divided into four tranches).

But the most delicate point of all is that of the redundancies: as is known, Mittal has asked for 5,000 structural, the government has defined the hypothesis "unacceptable". In reality both would be ready to mediate. What could be the compromise, however, it is still too early to say: it would already be good if ArcelorMittal was content to return to the offer made before the long negotiations with the unions, 8,480 total employees in Italy, or about 2,300 fewer than those then hired. Already for the government this would mean managing almost 4,500 workers with social safety nets (in fact the extraordinary commissioners have already managed 2 thousand workers, of which 1,600 are in cig).
The blackest hypotheses remain in the background: the negotiation that fails and ArcelorMittal goes away; the appointment of an extraordinary expert commissioner who takes charge of the company pending a new race with an unpredictable outcome (yesterday the Jindal group categorically denied the possibility that it could return to the field with a consortium); the nationalization of the group. The managing director of Intesa Sanpaolo, Carlo Messina, also spoke yesterday in favor of the latter aspect. Should option 1 fail, namely the agreement with Mittal, "the government should consider the possibility of nationalizing ILVA even if it is potentially in conflict with EU regulations," the banker said. And since the situation is already complicated, yesterday the rating agency Moody's was also set up, which confirmed ArcelorMittal's Baa3 rating but lowered the outlook from stable to negative. If the group fails "to carry out the announced withdrawal without tension and delays" from the former Ilva – he warned – they would "increase the pressure for a cut" in the rating.


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