Tycoon downplays expectations of a deal
Murray warns of ‘difficult challenges’ in any steel rescue bid
Former Rangers chairman Sir David Murray has been in talks over the future of two Scottish steel plants but warned against expectations of a rescue deal.
Sir David confirmed he had spoken to Scottish government ministers and with owner Tata which wants to mothball the plants at Dalzell and Clydebridge which are struggling to compete with cheap imports from China and require investment to modernise their operations.
In a statement, Sir David appeared to dampen expectations that he would save the plants, warning that no one should underestimate the “difficult challenges” that lie ahead.
He said: “Having been involved in the industry for more than 40 years – and the plant at Dalzell is one of my main suppliers – it is obvious that I would be concerned, as both a customer and as an employer, over what I could do to assist in helping to preserve such iconic brands.
“Four weeks ago I spoke to Scottish Government ministers. Meetings followed and further discussions have since taken place.
“I also met officials from Tata Steel in London, on Tuesday, 3 November.”
He added: “I will continue dialogue and to assist where practical, however, no one should underestimate the gravity of the difficult challenges that lie ahead.”
Under Tata’s plans, 270 jobs will be axed at the two plants. Even if Sir David was able to pull together a rescue bid it is likely that jobs will go.
A further 900 workers at the Tata steel plant in Scunthorpe are also to lose their jobs.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon promised to do everything in her power to give the industry a future in Scotland and set up a taskforce to find a buyer. Tycoon Jim McColl, who acquired he Ferguson shipyards on the Clyde, has rule out a bid for the steel plants.
The UK Business Secretary Sajid Javid will push for European action on anti-dumping measures when the issue is discussed at a meeting of the EU’s Competitiveness Council.