Tuesday, April 18, 2017

News: Top brass at Liberty Speciality Steels

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Liberty House Group has launched its new Speciality Steels business and appointed some of the most prominent international metals industry figures to lead the operation.

In February the international industrials and metals group closed a deal with Tata Steel UK to acquire its Speciality Steels business for a total consideration of £100m.

The sale agreement covers several South Yorkshire-based assets including the electric arc steelworks and bar mill at Rotherham, the steel purifying facility in Stocksbridge and a mill in Brinsworth as well as service centres in Bolton and Wednesbury, UK, and in Suzhou and Xi'an, China.

Following the signing of a definitive agreement, the acquisition is expected to be completed in the near future, subject to the necessary regulatory approvals.

In anticipation, the management board designate of Liberty Speciality Steels will include Jon Bolton as chief executive, Peter Hogg as chief operations officer and Chris Kirby as chief financial officer.

Jon Bolton is currently chief executive of Liberty's plates and UK steel development, and chair of the employers' body UK Steel, Peter Hogg is moving from his role as director of long products maker, British Steel, while Chris Kirby joins the team following a number of years as a senior consultant to major international metals, mining and energy firms.

Jon Bolton (pictured) is one of the most widely-respected figures in the industry, jointly chairing the UK Steel Council – along with the Secretary of State for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy - and advising government regarding the sector.

A graduate in electrical engineering, he has over 30-years' experience in steel on both sides of the Atlantic, most of this in senior positions with Tata Steel and its predecessors Corus and British Steel. He was appointed to the board of directors at Sheffield Forgemasters International Ltd at the end of 2016. Jon is also known for his contribution to the development of new skills across the sector, particularly through the Industrial Cadets programme of which he is a founder and ambassador.

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Peter Hogg, is joining Liberty from British Steel, where he became a director at the company's inception in 2016, following a 25-year career that spanned top leadership roles in the sector across the world.

Since entering the industry as a Cambridge University engineering graduate in 1991, he has distinguished himself in a series of key manufacturing and commercial roles with Tata Steel UK and its predecessor companies. This included a period as managing director of Tata's Speciality Steels division.

The chartered engineer is also a member of the management board of UK Steel and has been a leading member of the industry team constructing a "steel sector deal" with the UK's Government’s department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Chris Kirby is a chartered accountant with over 30 years' experience of senior financial management internationally, including 25 years in the mining and metals industry with publicly-listed and privately-owned companies, most recently Ma'aden Aluminium, the largest integrated aluminium manufacturing complex in the world. Cambridge MA graduate Chris was also group financial controller with Toronto- based copper, nickel and precious metals producer Vale Inco.

The three men will play a key role in finalising the transfer of the Tata Steel UK's Speciality business to Liberty over the coming weeks and in implementing a new plan to take the business forward, building its markets in the UK and across the world.
Sanjeev Gupta, executive chairman of the Liberty House Group, said: "Speciality Steels will play a pivotal role in achieving our over-arching GREENSTEEL vision and we are appointing a management team of the highest calibre to lead this crucial operation. The business will provide us with very significant melting capacity and will also make the high-grade steel we need for our advanced engineering operations. We’re very excited to have such talented people at the helm."

Liberty's GREENSTEEL vision promotes widespread melting and upcycling of UK domestic scrap metal, using arc furnaces powered from renewable energy sources.

As part of the strategy, Liberty has said that the Tata business has the capability to make around 1.1m tonnes of liquid steel per year from recycled scrap, melted in two electric arc furnaces at Aldwarke in Rotherham. This steel feeds downstream casting, re-melting and rolling processes, producing a range of high-value steels.

Liberty House website

Images: Industrial Cadets / Tata Steel


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