Thursday, January 12, 2023

News: Latest Liberty restructure again affects Rotherham


Liberty Steel has announced a restructuring programme that will affect 440 roles - including 185 roles at its Rotherham sites. The company said it was as a result of "severe competitiveness issues" in the UK steel industry.

Part of Sanjeev Gupta's GFG Alliance, Liberty Steel employs hundreds of staff in South Yorkshire, including in Rotherham. Gupta completed a £100m deal to acquire the Speciality Steels division of Tata Steel UK in 2017.

Hit by the collapse of Greensill, a specialist in invoice financing that operated with less regulation than the traditional banks, Liberty put in place a specialist committe to accelerate a restructuring and refinancing project which has seen investment and focus on the electric arc furnace at Aldwarke in Rotherham.

Despite the injection of £200m of shareholder capital over the last two years, Liberty said that the production of some commodity grade products at Rotherham and downstream mills has become unviable in the short term due to high energy costs and imports from countries without the same environmental standards.

Primary production through Rotherham’s lower carbon electric arc furnaces (EAFs) will be temporarily reduced while uncompetitive operating conditions prevail. The output is to be replaced by imported billet and slabs to feed rolling and finishing lines at Rotherham, Scunthorpe, and Dalzell as an interim measure to mitigate the impact of uncompetitive energy costs.

In a statement, Liberty added that: "With the support of major customers, LSUK will focus on high value alloy steel production at Speciality Steel UK (SSUK) sites in Rotherham, Stocksbridge and Brinsworth serving strategic aerospace, energy and engineering supply chains. SSUK will ramp up high value production at specialist plants through the year with a view to breaking even in September, laying the ground for further upside potential. LSUK has halted the sale process for the Stocksbridge and Brinsworth plants."

Liberty also said that it was still committed to its longer-term aim of growing Rotherham into a 2 million tonnes per year green steel facility.

The statement added: "These actions together with the idling of Liberty Performance Steels in West Bromwich and the reconfiguration of LIBERTY Steel Newport into a storage, distribution and trading hub, may potentially impact up to 440 roles across the business. The company will consult with employee representatives, Trade Unions and UK Government throughout the process.

"Liberty will offer an alternative to redundancy through its unique Workforce Solutions programme, which aims to retain, redeploy and reskill affected colleagues. Under the programme employees will be offered a level of guaranteed salary and outplacement opportunities, with the intention of being redeployed within LIBERTY Steel UK on previous employment terms when market conditions allow.

"The steps laid out by LIBERTY will forge a viable way forward for the business, provide a safety net to affected employees and help safeguard jobs in Liberty’s wider workforce of 1,900 permanent employees, and up to 5,000 including contractors."

Jeffrey Kabel, Chief Transformation Officer for Liberty Steel Group, said: “Refocusing our operations will set the right platform for LIBERTY Steel UK’s high-quality manufacturing businesses to adapt quickly to challenging market realities. The support of our marquee customers will enable us to produce high value, differentiated products through 2023 and beyond for strategic sectors such as aerospace, defence and energy. We remain committed to our longer-term growth plans in the UK including our plan to grow Rotherham into a 2 million tonne green steel hub.

“While our action is expected to regrettably impact the roles of some of our workforce we will provide a level of guaranteed salary and out placement opportunities through our unique Workforce Solutions programme as an alternative to redundancy. LIBERTY’s shareholder Sanjeev Gupta has supported the business through a very difficult period and remains committed to the workforce here in the UK and ensuring our lower carbon operations help deliver a sustainable, decarbonised UK steel industry.”

Liberty Steel website

Images: Liberty Steel


Supported by:
More news...

  © Blogger template Newspaper III by 2008

Back to TOP