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JSW Steel raises Ilva offer to challenge winning ArcelorMittal, Marcegaglia bid

A JSW Steel Ltd.-led consortium raised its bid for Italy's Ilva International SpA to challenge the offer of ArcelorMittal and Marcegaglia, which was declared the winner last month but faces opposition from labor unions, Reuters reported June 3.

The consortium increased the offer to €1.85 billion, broadly in line with the winning bid, along with the immediate hiring of 9,800 employees.

"The decision [to make a counteroffer] is in the interest of Ilva, of its employees, of the supply chain, the territory of the factory and the national machine industry," JSW said.

The new offer by the JSW-led consortium, called AcciaItalia, excluded two previous members, Arvedi and Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, and was made exclusively by JSW and Delfin.

The Industry Ministry said it could not accept a counteroffer, according to procedure, if the bidder only changed the purchase price. The government has been scrutinizing the winning bid and is anticipated to make a decision by June 5 on whether to officially endorse it.

Meanwhile, metalworkers' unions said they will send a letter to Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni and Industry Minister Carlo Calenda asking for an urgent meeting, adding that it was "necessary to reflect ... on the counter offer by AcciaItalia".

It was unclear if AcciaItalia's counteroffer for the Italian steelmaker will preserve more jobs compared with the bid by the ArcelorMittal-led consortium, which anticipates about 4,800 job cuts but will grant state unemployment support to workers until 2023.