December 21, 2017 / 12:01 PM / a month ago

UPDATE 1-EU orders Italy to recover 84 mln euros in loans from Ilva

(Adds Italian reaction)

BRUSSELS, Dec 21 (Reuters) - European Union competition supervisors ordered the Italian government on Thursday to recover about 84 million euros ($100 million) from steelmaker Ilva after ruling that two loans it made in 2015 constituted illegal state aid.

Other support measures for Ilva were found not to be state aid, the European Commission said in a statement. Among these were more than 1.1 billion euros transferred from Ilva’s owners to the company in June to help clean up pollution around the Taranto plant.

The Italian government expressed “enormous satisfaction” with the decision, saying in a statement that the Commission had looked into measures worth more than a combined 2 billion euros.

The Commission added that its decision had no impact on an EU legal case over the existing pollution, nor on the Commission’s separate investigation of an acquisition bid for Ilva by a consortium led by ArcelorMittal, the world’s biggest steelmaker.

EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in the statement: ”The best guarantee for a sustainable future of steel production in the Taranto region is the sale of Ilva’s assets at market terms -- it cannot rely on artificial state support...

“This does not change the fact that, in the right hands, Ilva has a sustainable future ... Essential de-pollution work should continue without any delay to protect the health of Taranto’s inhabitants.” (Reporting by Alastair Macdonald; Additional reporting by Crispian Balmer in Rome; Editing by Robin Emmott)

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