Steel tycoon Sanjeev Gupta says he can rescue Tata Steel
A metals tycoon who has stepped up as a potential buyer for Port Talbot steelworks, says he believes he can resuscitate Tata Steel’s UK business without any job losses at the plant.
Sanjeev Gupta disclosed that his Liberty House company was interested in acquiring the assets, including the Port Talbot site in south Wales, which employs 4,000 workers. Tata’s total UK workforce is 15,000.
On Tuesday 5th April, speaking before a meeting with the business secretary, Sajid Javid, he said the biggest obstacle to reviving the loss-making business was the giant blast furnace at Port Talbot. He suggested it could be possible to switch to arc furnaces to recycle scrap steel instead of importing raw materials and then exporting scrap.
He says he believes “absolutely” that Tata’s business can be overhauled without job losses.
Liberty House already owns steel plants in the UK, including in south Wales, and has been taking on assets affected by the crisis in the steel industry. It reopened a steel mill in Newport, south Wales, last year after spending two years reviving the site. Last month, Gupta also bought two mills in Scotland that had belonged to Tata Steel.
But Gupta warned that it was early days and that his company had not had the chance to inspect Tata Steel’s business or talk to the government.
Gupta said Tata Steel’s pension fund, with 130,000 members and liabilities of almost £15bn, was another barrier to a rescue. He declined to say whether Liberty House would buy Tata Steel’s UK business if the pension fund were separated off.