Liberty House to acquire Tata Steel UK’s pipe mills

sanjeev-gupta   -  REUTERS

TATA_STEEL_1442062_1468150f

Support package will help Sanjeev Gupta’s group to grow business through skilled workforce, develop new products

London, July 11



Liberty House, the industrial group owned by Sanjeev Gupta, is to acquire two British pipe mills owned by Tata Steel, the second deal to be reached by the company in Britain in just over a week — a period that also saw a group it is part of strike an agreement to buy steel producer Arrium in Australia.

The two mills — 42 and 82 inch “longitudinal submerged arc welded” pipe mills , which produce heavy-duty steel for the energy, power and construction sectors in Britain and beyond — employ around 140 people. Liberty House said that all the jobs will be saved and it anticipated further recruitment.

“It is anticipated that a support package will help Liberty to stabilise and grow the business through upskilling the workforce and developing new products,” the company said, referring to a regional incentive investment programme, that supports staff training, product and development research.

New Britain

The company plans to use steel from plate mills in Scotland acquired from Tata Steel earlier this year for the pipe mills, and that the Hartlepool and Scunthorpe mills, upgraded, could be together used to develop high-specification piping for the oil and gas sector globally.

“These mills can be a symbol of a new Britain, integrated with the world economy, exporting a world-class product globally once again. We aim to engage with all customers of the business locally and internationally to regain our market share,” said Gupta, whose group also acquired merchant bar mills in Scunthorpe from Caparo on July 3.

It has spent over £500 million on acquisitions in Britain since the start of 2017, as well as others across the world, including the US and Australia, as part of a strategy of acquiring struggling businesses with potential and integrating them into their end-to-end business.

Tata Steel said the sales agreement was part of its strategy of focussing on its strip products supply chain linked to Port Talbot (it is not selling a neighbouring 20-inch pipe mill as it forms part of that supply chain).

“As a responsible seller we have worked long and hard to find a sustainable future for the 42- and 84 inch pipe mills,” said Bimlendra Jha, CEO, Tata Steel UK.

The union Unite, which represents many Tata Steel workers, said it welcomed the deal after “months of uncertainty”.

In May, Gupta told this paper in an interview that he was open to acquiring Tata Steel’s remaining UK assets, following the acquisition of its speciality steel operations and said they would continue to look for opportunities in Britain to fill gaps in the product supply chain.

On July 5, the GFG Alliance, also owned by the Gupta family, confirmed it had signed a binding agreement Arrium, the Australian steel and mining business, with around 5,500 employees.

Published on July 11, 2017

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