Carlo Calenda, Italy's economic development minister, has signed a decree to transfer Ilva to AM Investco, a consortium led by ArcelorMittal. approving the EUR1.8 billion purchase of Italian steelmaker Ilva by an ArcelorMittal-led consortium.

Lakshmi Mittal, chairman and CEO of the world's biggest steelmaker, has commented on the EUR1.8 billion deal.

“I am very pleased that AM Investco, our consortium together with Marcegaglia and Banca Intesa Sanpaolo, has been recognised as a good owner for Ilva. I would like to take this opportunity to assure all stakeholders that we recognise the trust that has been placed in us. We will work with all interested parties to ensure a stronger, better and cleaner future for Ilva, its employees and the regions in which it operates. Our plan is supported by a significant investment programme that will enable the company to improve its product mix, win back market share and address the environmental issues. Our teams are excited to have the opportunity to help Ilva re-establish its position as Italy’s premier steel company. Our focus will now be on finalising the sales purchase agreement and starting discussions with various stakeholders.”

Antonio Marcegaglia, chairman and CEO, Marcegaglia, said: "As an industrial partner of the winning consortium we will be driven by a collaborative spirit and will commit ourselves to enabling every stakeholder to benefit from this extraordinary opportunity: the relaunch of Ilva, Europe’s largest steel asset."

The deal takes the Italian steelmaker back into private ownership.

According to a report in the Financial Times, the sale of Ilva ends a saga that has 'dragged on for years' during which time the business fell into insolvency and 14,000 jobs were put at risk. It is also a step towards consolidation of the European steel industry, according to the FT, which highlights talks between Tata Steel and ThyssenKrupp to merge their European operations.

Ilva's Taranto facility in Southern Italy was linked to dangerous cancer-causing emissions that led to the plant's nationalisation.