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Report: Italy willing to buy stake in Ilva steel plant to appease ArcelorMittal

The Italian government is willing to snap up an 18% stake in Ilva International SpA to prevent ArcelorMittal from abandoning a deal to purchase the steel plant, Reuters reported Dec. 8, citing newspaper Il Messaggero.

ArcelorMittal recently agreed to restart talks to resolve issues over Ilva, which the company had intended to return to the government after the withdrawal of its legal shield related to a planned environmental cleanup.

Under the proposal, the government will reportedly offer to take the Ilva stake either through state lender Cassa depositi e prestiti SpA or state-owned investment firm Invitalia SpA and will restore the legal shield.

In exchange, ArcelorMittal will be asked to slash the number of planned layoffs at Ilva to about 1,000 from 4,700, the report said. The plant employs about 8,200 workers.

Italy's industry minister was not available to provide immediate comment for the Il Messaggero report, Reuters said.