ROME (Reuters) - ArcelorMittal, the world's biggest steelmaker, and Italian industrial group Marcegaglia have won a bid to buy the troubled Ilva steel plant in southern Italy, a source with knowledge of the matter said on Friday.
The special commissioners in charge of Europe's biggest steel plant by output capacity have accepted the bid of just under 2 billion euros ($2.23 billion), the source said.
A representative for ArcelorMittal in Italy declined to comment until after Italy's industry ministry ratifies the decision. A spokesman for Marcegaglia declined to comment.
ArcelorMittal and the Italian family-owned company were bidding against a rival group including India's JSW Steel, the source said.
Italy has been trying to sell Ilva, based near the southern port city of Taranto, since 2015, when the state took full control in a bid to clean up the polluted site and save thousands of jobs in an economically depressed area.
The commissioners must now pass their decision on to Italy's industry ministry, which must issue a decree authorising it, the source said.
Once the decision is official, the environment ministry will examine the consortium's plans for cleaning up the site, which was sequestered by magistrates in 2012 amid allegations that its toxic emissions were causing abnormally high rates of cancer.
The environment ministry will issue its own decree around autumn this year, at which point the deal will need to be signed off by the European Union.
(Reporting by Massimiliano Di Giorgio; Writing by Isla Binnie; Editing by Greg Mahlich)