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Liberty House takes control of Tata Steel's speciality steels division

Aditi Divekar / Mumbai 02 May 17 | 02:50 PM

Sanjeev Gupta, executive chairman of Liberty House Group (Photo: Reuters)

UK-based Liberty House today said it has formally completed the 100-million-pound deal to acquire the speciality steels division of Tata Steel UK and has now taken control of unit in South Yorkshire.

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The acquisition is going to protect 1,700 jobs at three major sites at Rotherham, Stocksbridge and Brinsworth in South Yorkshire, smaller sites in Bolton, Lancashire and Wednesbury in the West Midlands and two distribution centres in China.

"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 release quoted Sanjeev Gupta, executive chairman of Liberty House as saying.

Alongside, Liberty House also plans to create 300 new jobs at the plant in coming months as it intends to expand capacity at the unit, the release said.

Speciality steels unit produces a range of high-value steels used in the manufacture of vehicles, aircraft, industrial machinery and equipment for the oil and gas industry.

Liberty said it would invest up to 20 million pounds in new expanded plant and equipment in the first year alone to boost competitiveness and secure international market leadership for the business, which is being relaunched as Liberty Speciality Steels. The business will increase output substantially at the electric arc furnaces, casting shop and bar mill in Rotherham, with bigger plans across the wider Speciality business in the years ahead.

"By investing to acquire Speciality Steels we are casting a big vote of confidence in the future of British industry. With the right business model and an innovative approach, the UK steel and engineering sectors can recover and thrive. The government is now pursuing a new post-Brexit industrial strategy and steel must be at the heart of that strategy," Gupta added.

Production from the arc furnaces is expected to rise to over a million tonnes per annum and there are plans for the bar mill to roll over 400,000 tonnes a year. In addition, the business will grow its position in the aerospace markets, utilizing recent capital investments at Stocksbridge and investing in additional capacity and new technology, said the release.

"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," Jon Bolton, who has been appointed chief executive of Liberty Speciality Steels was quoted as saying. "We are aiming to improve capacity utilization and productivity for the benefit of the whole business. We are also in discussion with the trade unions on how we can work together to facilitate our ambitious growth plans," he added.

Liberty House Group has been on an acquisition spree for a while and is now headed to Australia as it is bidding for Arrium's steel assets. The company also has plans to make an investment in India though it has not zeroed down any asset so far.

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