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ArcelorMittal signs deal over Italy's possible investment in Ilva steel plant

ArcelorMittal signed a nonbinding agreement with the commissioners of Italy's Ilva International SpA to continue negotiations on a new industrial plan for the troubled steel plant, including a possible equity investment by a government-controlled entity.

ArcelorMittal had intended to terminate its acquisition of Ilva after the government removed the company's legal shield over a planned environmental cleanup.

However, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte later said he would not allow ArcelorMittal to cancel the deal, and the government even offered to buy a stake in the plant to appease the steelmaker.

The new plan would consider investments in green technology, including through a new company financed by public and private investors, according to a Dec. 20 news release. Negotiations are seen running into January 2020.

In the meantime, the company and the commissioner requested a further postponement of the application of interim measures at the plant until the end of January 2020.

In November, Italian metalworkers' unions called for a strike at ArcelorMittal's plants in the country amid reports that the company planned to dismiss 5,000 workers.