Tuesday, March 8, 2022

News: Liberty updates on Rotherham steelworks as HMRC backs down


HMRC winding up petitions against the speciality steels division of Liberty Steel have been withdrawn.

The company, part of Sanjeev Gupta's GFG Alliance, employs hundreds of staff in South Yorkshire, including in Rotherham. GFG underwent a restructuring and transformation drive following the collapse of its main lender Greensill Capital.

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) issued a petition to have the speciality steel company wound up but following positive discussions with HMRC, the petitions have been withdrawn.

GFG confirmed the news in a statement and added: "In parallel, constructive discussions continue with existing creditors to repay liabilities and with new lenders over longer term refinancing of the business."

Greensill Capital went into administration last year and as part of a restructuring, Liberty said that it would look to sell its aerospace and special alloys steel business in Stocksbridge, Sheffield but retain its electric arc furnace at Aldwarke in Rotherham.

In October, Liberty Steel restarted production in Rotherham, following an injection £50m of shareholder funds into the business.

The statement went on: "Following the £50m injection of shareholder funding to restart operations at LIBERTY Steel UK (LSUK) in October, a further significant injection of shareholder capital has enabled renewed steel making across LSUK’s High Value Manufacturing, Narrow Strip, Engineering Bar and Merchant Bar operations. The campaigns, which will extend into March and April, will enable LSUK to serve customers and maintain market position.

"Steelmaking at Rotherham and Stocksbridge has continued over the first quarter of the year following the injection of shareholder funding that enabled the restart of operations in October. A steelmaking campaign in February met planned production targets, and another has been underway during early March. Planning is advancing well for further campaigns."

Sanjeev Gupta, Executive Chairman of GFG Alliance, said: “With refinancing initiatives well underway and our businesses performing well, this will be a formative year for our organisation as we work through our transformation plan. As our restructuring and refinancing programmes continue to progress positively we are also making operational improvements to further enhance the performance of our core businesses against a backdrop of robust demand for our products.”

Wentworth and Dearne MP John Healey, added: "I urged the Businesses Secretary last month to get HMRC back around the table with Liberty Steel to reach agreement on repayments and avoid the risk of the company being forced out of business by the Government.

“I am pleased to see that they’ve done this and HMRC has withdrawn its winding-up petition. This is good news for our Rotherham steel plant and a relief for workers who were unsettled about the company’s future.

“The fact that HMRC has agreed a repayments plan should also be seen as showing some government confidence in Liberty’s long-term refinancing prospects.

“What we need now is the new investment promised by Liberty’s bosses and the long-pledged government action on energy costs for all UK steelmakers.”

Liberty Steel website

Images: Liberty House


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