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The deadline for bids on the troubled Italian steelmaker Ilva, the owner of Europe’s largest steelworks, has been pushed back until next week.

Final offers to acquire the company, which has been at the centre of a saga involving environmental disaster, insolvency and temporary nationalisation, had been due on Friday.

But a spokesperson for Ilva confirmed to the Financial Times that the cut-off would be delayed to Monday.

Rome took control of the business, based at the giant Taranto facility in southern Italy, in 2015 after a court sequestered sections of it on the grounds that it had failed to contain toxic emissions.

In contention for the century-old industrial concern are two consortia with differing visions on how to turn it around.

One is led by ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steelmaker, alongside Marcegaglia, an Italian steel processor.

The other is an alliance between Delfin, the holding company of Italian sunglasses tycoon Leonardo Del Vecchio; the country’s sovereign wealth fund, Cassa Depositi e Prestiti; and Italian steelmaker Arvedi. They are joined by Indian steel group JSW, founded by the billionaire Sajjan Jindal.

Along with a financial offer, prospective buyers must present an environmental plan and industrial blueprint.

The sale comes as EU steelmakers are struggling against a record level of imports into the bloc, in particular from China.

Ilva’s revenues increased 5 per cent to €2.2bn last year, as losses narrowed to €220m on the industry’s preferred metric of earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation, from negative €545m the year before.

The Taranto steel plant is Europe’s biggest by output capacity.

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