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ArcelorMittal lawyer sees possible deal over Ilva steel plant

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By Reuters
ArcelorMittal lawyer sees possible deal over Ilva steel plant
FILE PHOTO: Steam comes out of the chimneys of the Ilva steel plant in Taranto, Italy, November 11, 2019. REUTERS/Ciro De Luca   -   Copyright  Ciro De Luca(Reuters)

MILAN (Reuters) – A lawyer representing ArcelorMittal <MT.AS> said on Wednesday the company hoped it could reach a deal with the Italian government over the Ilva plant, after the steelmaker tried to walk away from a 2018 deal to buy the site.

ArcelorMittal has blamed its threatened exit on a decision by parliament to scrap a guarantee of legal immunity from prosecution over environmental risks while it carried out a clean-up at Ilva, in the southern Italian city of Taranto.

“There is the basis for a negotiation that can lead to an agreement”, lawyer Ferdinando Emanuele said after a Milan court postponed to Dec. 20 a hearing to discuss a government bid to stop ArcelorMittal from tearing up the 2018 purchase deal.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte met ArcelorMittal managers on Friday and said they had agreed to delay the Milan hearing on condition that the India-based company kept Ilva operational during the talks.

(Reporting by Emilio Parodi and Alfredo Faieta; writing by Angelo Amante; editing by Crispian Balmer)