UK-based Liberty Steel to buy three more of Lakshmi Mittal’s European plants

PTI | | Updated on: Nov 02, 2018

SANJEEV GUPTA, Executive Chairman, Liberty House | Photo Credit: RUSSELL CHEYNE

UK-based Liberty Steel, part of Indian-origin tycoon Sanjeev Gupta’s global GFG Alliance, on Friday announced a conditional agreement to buy three additional European steel plants being sold by NRI steel billionaire Lakshmi N Mittal’s ArcelorMittal.

The company said it will acquire two Belgian steel mills and one in Luxembourg from ArcelorMittal in addition to the four. It said last month it would be acquiring in the Czech Republic, Romania, Macedonia and Italy. Both deals are subject to approval by the European Commission and other local processes, including the conclusion of information consultations with local and European Works Councils.

Liberty said it has struck a conditional agreement to buy the Flemalle and Tilleur sites, which employ a total of around 700 people near Liege, Belgium, and the 300-people Dudelange, Luxembourg facility.

“These are high quality, landmark assets with skilled and experienced workforces that we are looking forward to welcoming into the worldwide GFG fold,” said GFG Alliance executive chairman Gupta.

“Our aim will be to develop close working relationships with respective governments, trade unions and other local stakeholders in Belgium and Luxembourg to optimise and improve the value of these historic assets that are important for the regional and national economies,” he said.

The three mills, serving the construction, industrial and automotive markets, have a combined annual manufacturing capacity of 2.1m tonnes of cold rolled steel, 2m tonnes of galvanised steel, and 200 Ktons of tin-plated steel. Liberty said it is committed to retaining the jobs across the Liege and Dudelange sites.

GFG Alliance’s Chief Investment Officer, Jay Hambro, said: “These plants are an important and logical addition to our expanding, integrated European supply chain. By entering these key markets and expanding our footprint, we’re embedding our European presence and bolstering our competitive position internationally.

“We’re delighted to be adding these plants to our fleet and to extend our innovative business model based on skill retention, vertical integration and sustainable production to these excellent sites.”

In common with the plants in eastern Europe and Italy, the sites at Liege and Dudelange are profitable assets that the company says will further consolidate Liberty’s growing presence in continental Europe, which already includes the Liberty Wheels France plant at Chateauroux.

Following the anticipated completion of Liberty’s acquisition from Rio Tinto, its plants will also include Europe’s largest aluminium smelter at Dunkerque.

The three new European sites constitute the second part of a total package of site sales ArcelorMittal agreed with EU competition regulators to clear the way for it to purchase Italian steel giant, Ilva, Europe’s largest producer of flat carbon steel. Liberty said it has worked closely with ArcelorMittal to prepare a transaction that satisfies the demands of the EU Commission and creates a secure future for these businesses within the GFG Alliance.

The announcement this week follows the announcement in October that Liberty Steel had reached conditional agreement with ArcelorMittal to acquire major integrated works at Galati in Romania and Ostrava in the Czech Republic, along with mills at Skopje in Macedonia and Piombino in Italy.

Liberty Steel is part of the GFG Alliance, a global group of energy, mining, metals, engineering, logistics and financial services businesses, headquartered in London, with additional hubs and a presence in around 30 countries worldwide.

Published on November 02, 2018
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