Sanjeev Gupta takes charge of Tata Steel’s Scottish plants
Indian-origin businessman and founder of the Liberty Group Sanjeev Gupta on Friday formally took charge of Tata Steel’s loss making plants in Scotland. Gupta, who has also expressed an interest in acquiring Tata’s embattled Welsh unit of Port Talbot, hailed the “fresh chapter” in efforts to begin work on the re-opening and recovery of the two mothballed steel plate operations at Dalzell and Clydebridge in Lanarkshire, negotiations for which began last November.
“Despite the current anxieties surrounding steel, I believe the sector has a future in the UK and, more particularly, a future here in Scotland. Like in Wales and the West Midlands, where our business model is already at work, steel is very much part of the fabric of Scottish industry and we are confident we have the calibre of people here who will keep it where it belongs, at the heart of the economy,” Gupta said at an official hand-over ceremony at Dalzell.
He acknowledged the efforts put in by the Scottish government to help Liberty House strike the deal with Tata. The 44-year-old added: “Without their exceptional and exemplary attitude to saving these plants, we would not have been able to stand here today collecting the keys. I would particularly commend the leadership and tenacity of the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, and her Business Minister, Fergus Ewing. “This is our first step in Scotland, based on our experience so far we are confident we can build on this positive relationship, leading us to further opportunities and investments that will benefit the Scottish economy.”
The agreement to save the two plants was completed on March 24 and in coming months Liberty expects to create around 150 new jobs to get the plants up and running again. The company said it has a vision for “Green Steel”, using renewable energy to melt the readily available supply of scrap in Britain. Its plan is counter to the current UK steel industry, which relies on the import of iron ore and coal from far flung corners of the globe, the firm said. Founded in 1992, the Group has turnover approaching $7 billion with net assets of $1 billion.
Do not carry out ‘panic-driven fire sale’, Union warns British govt
Warning against a “panic driven fire sale” of Tata Steel UK’s Port Talbot plant, Britain’s largest trade union Unite has asked the government to ensure that the sale done in a timely fashion.
UK’s Business Minister Sajid Javid, who was in Mumbai earlier this week holding crunch talks
with Tata Group Chairman Cyrus Mistry on sale of its UK steel business, visited Port Talbot on Thursday where he met employees and union representatives. Port Talbot is Tata Steel UK’s and Britain’s largest steel plant. “Today was an opportunity for our representatives to impress upon the business secretary the importance of Port Talbot not just to the Welsh economy but to manufacturing across the UK,” Unite said in a statement.