Gupta's Liberty House formally bids for Tata Steel UK

London, May 4: Metals major Liberty House, founded by Indian-born industrialist Sanjeev Kumar Gupta, has formally submitted its bid for acquiring most of the UK assets of Tata Steel, that has suffered nearly $3 billion in losses thus far.

The company said it intended to buy all of Tata Steel UK's assets, excluding its long products division, that is in the process of being sold separately, and the Scottish plate assets unit, which Liberty has already acquired from the Tatas.


"The bid is based on Liberty's 'Greensteel' business model and would involve a transition from steelmaking in blast furnaces to recycling steel in electric arc furnaces over time, while ensuring the company continues to meet key customers' quality requirements," the company said.

"Steelmaking would be ultimately powered by renewable energy sources."

Liberty said the UK steel industry can achieve long-term viability if the same is based on an agile, sustainable, non-cyclical model that integrates liquid steel-making from recycling with downstream production and the manufacture of advanced engineering products.

The company said it has set up a 12-member team for negotiations led by chairman Sanjeev Gupta and includes Jon Bolton, chief executive of Liberty Steel UK Plates, a former director with Tata Steel, and also chair of the trade body, UK Steel.

"The internal team includes senior executives with extensive experience in the global and UK steel industry, as well as specialists in the legal, environmental, finance and human resource fields. Five of the team have previously worked at senior level within Tata."

A host of advisors have also been roped in for various facets of the deal -- Macquarie Capital (Europe), State Bank of India Capital Markets, global lawyers Clyde and Company, Grant Thornton, Deloitte and Wardell-Armstrong on environmental issues.

Liberty Group has revenues approaching $5 billion, covering steel, raw materials and non-ferrous metals, while employing more than 2,000 people globally. It also produces about five million tonnes per annum of steel and steel products.

In March, Tata Steel UK announced an accord to sell its Clydebridge and Dalzell steel units in Scotland. The deal involved the sale of the two plants to the government of Scotland, which was to, in turn, sell them to Liberty House.

Earlier last month, British Business Secretary Sajid Javid met with Gupta here, before leaving for Mumbai to hold talks with the Tata Steel top brass on the future of the group's UK steel business and prevent thousands of job losses.

The European arm of Tata Steel said in mid-April that it was in talks with as many as 190 suitors for its UK units and that KPMG would be its principal advisor in this regard, with Standard Chartered Bank as an additional one.

The announcement of the UK asset sale came after Tata Steel suffered $3 billion in losses in UK operations, some 10 years after it had forayed into Europe by acquiring Anglo-Dutch Corus for over $8.1 billion.


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