ILVA bid presentation extended (2)

Industry ministry decree names Leonardo & Co. to assess value

(ANSA) - Rome, May 20 - Government commissioners running ILVA on Friday extended from May 30 to June 23 the deadline for bids to be presented to buy the troubled steelmaker. The operation will, however, still have to be closed by June 30, they said. Investment bank Leonardo & Co has been charged with assessing the ILVA group's value, according to a decree from the industry ministry. State-controlled investment bank Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) has been meeting with various companies interested in joining it in rescuing ILVA.
    CDP is "evaluating potential future partners and their turnaround and development projects" for ILVA. Any such deal would see CDP as "a financial partner with a minority share" in the steelmaker, with "the presence of at least one industrial partner as a prerequisite", the sources said.
    A court this year declared ILVA insolvent, with debt totalling nearly three billion euros. The company has been put up for sale after the court-ordered seizure of assets at its highly polluting Taranto plant, which is being cleaned up.
    Extraordinary commissioners are managing the firm as it undergoes the massive environmental cleanup and a financial turnaround project.
    Anglo-Indian steel giant Arcelor Mittal and Italy's Marcegaglia steel group have said they are ready to bid for ILVA if CDP comes in with them. If CDP agrees to join, the remainder of the consortium will be 85% Arcelor Mittal and 15% Marcegaglia, they said.
    The two groups had talks with CDP recently outlining their plans. They said they would make a binding offer by the initial end-May deadline if the government bank comes into a three-way consortium.
    Luxottica founder and Chairman Leonardo Del Vecchio has also said he might be willing to take part in an ILVA consortium if there is a "solid industrial plan with concrete possibilities of success".
    The European Court of Human Rights this week opened proceedings against the Italian State for allegedly having failed to protect the life and health of 182 people in the southern city of Taranto from the effects of emissions from the ILVA steel plant. The Strasbourg court deemed the evidence presented by the plaintiffs to be sufficiently solid to open proceedings on the basis of a preliminary examination.