Italy takes control of troubled steel mill

AFP-JIJI

Italy’s government on Tuesday took control of Europe’s largest steel mill amid a long-running legal dispute over toxic pollution in a move that was immediately criticized by the main industry association as a dangerous precedent.

The measure, which takes effect immediately but still has to be confirmed by Parliament, would last between 12 and 36 months and would take control of the giant Ilva plant in Taranto in southern Italy from its owners, the Riva family.

A Cabinet meeting also decided to name as administrator Enrico Bondi, an experienced official who has already worked for months on the Ilva case and helped rescue the dairy giant Parmalat after its disastrous collapse in 2003.

The Taranto plant and other Ilva facilities around Italy employ a total of around 24,000 people and a total of 40,000 steel sector jobs are affected.