India's Jindal family close to buying Italy's Lucchini: Italy PM

SAN ROSSORE Italy Sun Aug 10, 2014 9:24am EDT

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SAN ROSSORE Italy (Reuters) - A company run by India's billionaire Jindal family is close to finalizing a deal to buy insolvent Italian steelmaker Lucchini, Italy's prime minister Matteo Renzi said on Sunday.

Lucchini, formerly owned by Russia's Severstal, was declared insolvent in 2012 and placed under special administration after falling victim to plunging European demand for steel during the 2008 recession.

"Jindal should finalize. It's a matter of days," Renzi said after being asked about Piombino, Lucchini's main production site, during a visit to a Catholic scout group in Tuscany.

Renzi did not specify whether he was referring to Jindal Steel and Power or JSW Steel, respectively owned by brothers Naveen and Sajjan Jindal.

In April sources with direct knowledge of the matter said Jindal Steel and Power and JSW Steel were in competing talks to buy parts of Lucchini. Italian media have said Lucchini could be sold for a symbolic one euro.

Indian newspaper Mint said in July JSW Steel had offered to buy parts of Lucchini.

A source close to JSW said on Sunday that talks were progressing quickly. "Work is going on in full swing," the source said after Renzi's comment. "(I) can't say if it's a matter of days but surely things are moving fast."

JSW joint managing director Seshagiri Rao did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A spokeswoman for Jindal Steel and Power had no comment to make.

Spokesmen for Renzi and Italian industry minister Federica Guidi were unable to say which company the prime minister was talking about or give more information.

Italian labor union FIOM-CGIL said last month that the world's biggest steelmaker Arcelor Mittal was considering making a bid for Lucchini.

(Reporting by Silvia Ognibene in San Rossore and Krishna N. Das in New Delhi, writing by Isla Binnie; editing by Keiron Henderson)

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