ROME, Feb. 1 -- Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi on Friday asked U.S. aluminium producer ALCOA (AA.N: Quote) not to close its two Italian smelters.
Berlusconi, in a letter to Alcoa head Klaus Kleinfeld, asked that the company wait until the European Commission studies the situation, his office said in a statement.
Alcoa said on Thursday it plans an orderly shutdown of its two Italian smelters by February 6, despite government efforts to find energy at a competitive price.
But the company committed earlier this week to restarting one of the plants if it can secure cheap power and conditions are conducive.
Berlusconi's office said that if the plants closed, it could lead to changes in the government's relations with multinational companies.
The company has two plants in Italy, one in Sardinia and one near Venice.