Thursday, July 7, 2016

News: Tata to proceed with sale of South Yorkshire operations - reports

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Tata Steel will proceed with the sale of its speciality steel making business, whilst pausing the sale of most of its UK business, including Port Talbot - according to a report by the BBC.

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 were immediately taken forward to the next stage but a shortlist of bidders has never been confirmed and the sale process was suspended. Since the announcement in March, there has been rising steel prices, a turnaround at Port Talbot, announcements from the Government on support for the industry, consultation on the pension scheme, a fall in the price of the pound and the EU referendum.

A Tata Steel board meeting is scheduled to be held in Mumbai tomorrow with Business Secretary Sajid Javid, flying in for talks with Tata executives.

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The report said that "Tata has recently adopted a more relaxed approach to determining its future, as Government incentives to keep the business going have come in thick and fast.

"It will pause the sale of most of its UK business, including Port Talbot .... However, it will proceed with the sale of its specialty steel making business, which employs 2,000 employees in Hartlepool, Rotherham and Stocksbridge."

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 at sites like Aldwarke in Rotherham and Stocksbridge in Sheffield. It is not considered a downstream business linked to Port Talbot and Tata Steel's strip products.

Bids from investors seeking to cherry-pick parts of the operation were initially rejected. Albion Steel, a new vehicle led by former Corus CEO, Tony Pedder, is reported to be lining up behind JSW Steel of India with a view to acquiring Tata's specialist steels division in South Yorkshire.

It was also reported that KPMG, engaged by Tata Steel as advisers to the sale process, was asked to contact prospective bidders for the Speciality Steel business in South Yorkshire and the pipeline tube operations.

Steelworker's unions have been calling for clarity of their future, adding that "since that first announcement, the trust and good will of Tata's loyal workforce has been pushed to the limit."

Tata Steel website

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