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Italy to consider legal immunity for ArcelorMittal if group re-commits to Ilva

Italy to consider legal immunity for ArcelorMittal if group re-commits to Ilva
FILE PHOTO: Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte speaks to a protester as he visits the Ilva steel plant in Taranto, Italy, November 8, 2019. REUTERS/Ciro De Luca -
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CIRO DE LUCA(Reuters)
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ROME (Reuters) – Italy’s Prime Minister said on Monday his government would consider reintroducing guarantees of legal immunity for ArcelorMittal <MT.AS> only if the group re-commits to a contract to buy Europe’s largest steel plant.

ArcelorMittal said last week it was withdrawing from a 2018 deal to acquire Ilva steelworks, blaming its decision on a government move to scrap previous legal guarantees during a massive clean-up operation at the Taranto plant.

“Only if Mittal changed his mind and told us that he would respect the commitments envisaged in the contract could (the government) consider a new form of legal shield,” PM Giuseppe Conte said in an interview to daily Il Fatto Quotidiano, referring to CEO Lakshmi Mittal.

He added, however, that the group had told him in a previous meeting that the problem was “industrial, and not judicial” and that the group would have u-turned on the investment anyway.

Conte said he would soon meet ArcelorMittal again over the future of the Ilva steel plant and that his government had already filed an urgent court appeal against their decision to walk away from the contract.

(Reporting by Giulia Segreti; Editing by Himani Sarkar)

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