Tuesday, May 10, 2016

News: Seven up for taking on Tata Steel UK

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The board of Tata Steel Europe has confirmed that seven expressions of interest for Tata Steel's UK business are through to the next stage.

The Indian-owned steelmaker concluded that it is exploring all options for portfolio restructuring including the potential sale of Tata Steel UK, in whole or in parts. The formal process began on April 11 with contact made with 190 potential financial and industrial investors worldwide.

Seven bids have been immediately taken forward to the next stage of the sale process whilst Tata Steel Europe is clarifying outstanding points with a number of other parties who have submitted an expression of interest.

Details of the bidders have not been disclosed but two bids have so far been made public, from Liberty House and Excalibur Steel. Reports from India state that private steel producer JSW Steel Ltd is among seven bidders and The Financial Times is reporting that Nucor, the largest steel producer in the United States, is also on the list.

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Greybull Capital, the investor close to finalising the purchase of Tata Steel's site in Scunthorpe, has been reportedly assessing sites in Rotherham and Stocksbridge and Albion Steel, led by co-founders Dr Rod Beddows and Tony Pedder OBE, has also shown an interest in the Speciality Steels business in South Yorkshire.

However, Tata Steel has reiterated its primary intention to assess expressions of interest for the whole of Tata Steel's UK business rather than allow assets to be "cherry-picked." It said in a statement that "expressions of interest for parts of the UK business are not being taken forward at this point."

Speciality Steels has a £275m of turnover and is Tata Steel Europe's only Electric Arc Furnace (EAF) based business, specialising in carbon, alloy and stainless steels for demanding applications like aerospace, motorsports and oil and gas. Until recently it employed over 2,000 people. It is not considered a downstream business linked to Port Talbot and Tata Steel's strip products.

Koushik Chatterjee, group executive director (Finance and Corporate) of Tata Steel Limited, said: "We have been pleased with the response to the initial stage of the global sales process for Tata Steel's UK business.

"Today's announcement by Tata Steel Europe marks another important stage gate in this process. The expressions of interest received have been through a robust initial assessment process with inputs received from the UK Government whose views have been considered by the Board. We believe that the bids being taken forward offer future prospects of sustainability for the UK business as a whole.

The sales process will continue as announced earlier in an expedited and robust manner to deliver greater clarity for all key stakeholders such as employees, customers and suppliers.

"Whilst the sales process continues, Tata Steel’s business in the UK under the new leadership team continues to focus on the business performance."

In the next phase of the sales process the progressing interested parties will be given access to further business information and management team presentations in order for them to rapidly progress their interest to a binding stage.

Tata Steel Europe website

Images: Tata Steel

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