Acciaierie d'Italia

ADI President calls for company survival to be guaranteed, unions point out industrial plan is not being implemented

The situation at the Taranto plant remains difficult, as the government is aware of, said Franco Bernabe, President of Acciaierie d’Italia, writes La Gazzetta del Mezzogiorno. According to him, in August the authorities took certain measures that guarantee uninterrupted production, but other steps are also needed.

“We must guarantee the survival of the company: the steel plant cannot finance itself, cannot purchase raw materials, and is experiencing great difficulties due to the low level of production. The urgency is to have resources available immediately,” Bernabe said.

According to Italian media, Franco Bernabe is even ready to leave the leadership of Acciaierie d’Italia if the government does not save the company – it is about additional capitalization. However, not a single message about the official resignation, government sources say, has yet been transmitted to the executive branch.

At the same time, unions at the troubled ADI steel plant noted at a recent meeting with Italian authorities that private partner ArcelorMittal had failed to implement an industrial plan, maintain employment or achieve a steel production target of 6 million tons, reports Kallanish. The company also did not begin work on the reconstruction of blast furnace №5.

Worker representatives also complained about a lack of transparency over the use of the €400 million Invitalia invested in ADI to become a shareholder in 2021 and the additional €680 million allocated to the company this year.

The government responded that it recognizes the urgency of intervention in ADI and reiterates its commitment to provide a solution. The priorities the authorities are focusing on include completing the decarbonization process and verifying the specific commitments of the private partner to restore the Taranto plant.

According to informed sources, Kallanish writes, the government is not interested in becoming a majority shareholder in ADI as it has reached an agreement with ArcelorMittal and is in talks with the steelmaker as well as other potential private partners to ensure ADI restarts.

Acciaierie d’Italia is controlled by steel company ArcelorMittal through Am InvestCo, a subsidiary of the corporation that agreed to acquire the former Ilva plant, and by the state through national investment agency Invitalia.

As GMK Center reported earlier, this year the ADI plant in Taranto planned to release 4 million tons of steel, and in 2024 to reach production of 5 million tons. In addition, it was announced that in the second half of 2023 the iron and steel plant plans to begin reconstruction of blast furnace №5, which has been idle for many years.

Also, at the beginning of 2023, the Italian Ministry of Finance officially authorized payment a grant of €680 million ($736 million) from Acciaierie d’Italia, which the company intended to use to support industrial investments and its production facilities.