Government secures future of two sites
Scots steel plants rescued in Liberty House deal
The deal, anticipated in Daily Business at the weekend initially involves selling the two plants to the Scottish Government which will then sell them on to Liberty House.
There was no immediate clarification on the terms of the deal or on how many of the 270 jobs will be maintained.
The agreement follows Tata Steel’s announcement in October that it would stop its European plate production, claiming cheap Chinese imports into Europe were making domestic steel uncompetitive.
This led to the mothballing of the Scottish plants at the end of the year. Rather than closing the facilities, Tata Steel has continued to maintain them to enable plate production to potentially restart in the future.
There was speculation in January of interest from Liberty House which is re-opening a 40-year-old rolling mill in South Wales, producing steel coil for the UK market.
It also bought West Midlands based Caparo Tubular Solutions which fell into administration in October.
The family-run business operates in 30 countries and owns commodities trading group Simec.
Sanjeev Gupta, Liberty’s managing director, who founded the company while a student at Cambridge university in 1992, has spoken of “bucking the trend” in steel by reviving British plants.
Speaking after today’s deal was agreed, Bimlendra Jha, executive chairman of Tata Steel’s Long Products Europe business, said: “We welcome this deal which opens the possibility of a resumption of steel processing in Scotland.
“This has been achieved with the determination and support of employees, trade unions and the Scottish Government all working together.”
The Dalzell plate mill transforms a semi-finished steel slab into a steel plate, while the Clydebridge facility processes steel plate using a quench and tempering technique.
Today’s agreement secures the two Scottish plants while Tata Steel continues to negotiate the potential sale of the rest of its Long Products Europe business to Greybull Capital.