UPDATE 1-Steelmaker Ilva to restart furnace in October
* Ilva annual output to rise to about 7.5 mln T
* Acciaio halt may hurt firms with 1.8 bln euros turnover
* Two support firms affected but no impact on Ilva output
By Silvia Antonioli and Agnieszka Flak
LONDON/MILAN, Sept 19 (Reuters) - Italy's Ilva, Europe's largest steel plant, is planning to restart a furnace to boost production from late October, unaffected by a court-ordered freeze on assets of its owner, the Riva family, industry sources said.
The southern Italian plant, at the centre of a lengthy environmental scandal, will restart a blast furnace with a capacity of about 2 million tonnes per year, which will allow it to increase annual production to around 7.5 million tonnes, two sources with knowledge of the situation said.
Unlike Ilva, sister company Riva Acciaio halted operations at plants in northern Italy last week and sent home 1,400 workers after its funds were frozen as part of a probe into alleged environmental crimes at Ilva.
Both Ilva and Riva Acciaio belong to the Riva family.
Earlier this year tax police said they would seize assets worth 8.1 billion euros ($10.8 billion) from the Riva family, and a seizure order stemming from the proceedings was handed to Riva Acciaio last week, blocking its banking operations.
The halt at Riva Acciaio, which produces around 1.5 million tonnes of long steel products a year, is damaging steelmakers and their suppliers whose combined annual turnover from the domestic market alone amounts to 1.8 billion euros ($2.4 billion), Italian business lobby Confindustria said.
"Ilva has not been affected by the latest seizure. It is currently running with two out of its five furnaces, and it will reopen a third furnace in October," one of the sources said.
"The furnace had been halted for a reduction in demand and to consume stocks."
An Ilva spokesman declined to comment.
Two Ilva affiliates - Taranto Energia and Ilva Servizi Marittimi - which provide energy and shipping services to the steel operation, were included in last week's seizure, but this has had no immediate impact on Ilva's output, the sources said.
"They have blocked the bank account of Taranto Energia, which made it impossible (for Taranto) to pay wages, but Ilva has guaranteed the company's payments (including the wages), so there is no immediate impact," the second source said.
"Things are fine for now, but Ilva lives day by day at the moment. There are no guarantees for the long term." (Editing by Jane Baird)
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