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Tata dealing with private equity firm

Steel plant talks offer no guarantees on Scottish jobs

DalzellTata Steel is in negotiation with Greybull Capital to sell its Long Products Europe business,  a move that may provide a reprieve for some of the company’s threatened steel operations.

Greybull last year rescued British holidays and airline company Monarch and Tata Steel said it will make a decision in January at the latest.

Sources said there were two more parties interested, one of which was private equity firm Endless. Final bids were submitted about two weeks ago.

Tata Steel said in October it could axe about 1,200 jobs at its long products unit, which employs some 6,500 people across Europe with the majority based in Scunthorpe, northeast England.

Scottish Business Minister Fergus Ewing, who hinted recently at discussions with a potential buyer, welcomed the news but cautioned about expectations that any deal would save the Scottish plants.

He said: “Our primary aim is to secure a future for Scottish steel. While the development is potentially welcome, the agreement between Tata Steel and Greybull Capital LLP is still at a very early stage and there can be no guarantees it will proceed – or that it will lead to a secure future for jobs at the plants involved.

“I am in close contact with Tata Steel and Greybull and I am seeking an early meeting to determine the precise implications for production and jobs at the Dalzell and Clydebridge plants.

“We have been working constructively with Tata Steel and trades unions and the Scottish Government, Skills Development Scotland and Scottish Enterprise are ready to support skills and training at the two sites.

“To support willing commercial operators intending on restarting operations at Dalzell and Clydebridge we have offered a package of support to retain key workers, to both minimise the time the plants are mothballed and to safeguard the full manufacturing capability.

“The work of the Scottish Steel Task Force will continue to secure a sustainable future for the plants and support the transition to any new commercial operator.”

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