Tata Steel UK today said it has completed the sale of its Speciality Steels business, which employs 1,700 workers, to Liberty House Group for 100 million pounds. CEO Bimlendra Jha said that in the last couple of years, Tata Steel has been undertaking a transformation plan at the speciality steel division.
The struggling steelmaker said in a statement the sale includes several South Yorkshire-based assets, including electric arc steelworks and bar mill at Rotherham, steel-purifying facility in Stocksbridge and a mill in Brinsworth. Besides, it covers service centres in Bolton and Wednesbury, UK, and Suzhou and Xi'an, China.
The speciality steel business directly employs nearly 1,700 people making steel for aerospace, automotive and oil, and gas industries. Liberty said it will create 300 more jobs as well as protect the 1,700 existing ones through multi-million pound investments in the venture.
Liberty's Executive Chairman Sanjeev Gupta said, “Today marks a step change for the Liberty House Group because we are taking on strategically important capacity that will drive expansion in the years ahead. It will help us achieve our GREENSTEEL vision and facilitate investment in engineering products, thereby reducing the supply-chain gaps in the UK, especially in automotive and aerospace sectors."
The acquisition will make Liberty one of the largest steel and engineering employers in the UK with over 4,500 workers. Last month, the Sanjeev Gupta-helmed group also bought the Georgetown steel plant in South Carolina in the US from ArcelorMittal.
Speciality Steels makes products for aerospace, automotive, and oil and gas industries. The acquisition gives the Group the largest arc furnace capacity in the UK, a key component in its plan to increase low-carbon steel production based on recycling metal in furnaces powered by renewable energy.
Jon Bolton, who has been appointed chief executive of Liberty Speciality Steels, explained that the business already had a strong market reputation because of a combination of advanced equipment capability and a skilled and motivated workforce.
He said, "Through increased output and improved positions in the UK, North American and EU markets, the business can improve its competitiveness and re-establish itself as a global force in the supply of engineering steels."
Tata Steel said it had recently completed consultation with its employees on proposals to structurally reduce risks in its wider UK business. Discussions are also on with the British steel pension scheme trustees and pension regulator to develop a structural solution for its UK pension scheme in coming months, the company added.
For the UK strip product business, the company said it continues the process of transformation that is essential to create a viable future. Tata Steel's strip product business will continue to employ almost 8,500 people in the UK, manufacturing products for sectors like automotive and construction industries.