‘ Man of steel’ wins Arrium bid battle
A MULTIMILLIONAIRE industrialist dubbed Britain’s “man of steel” has won the battle for Arrium, ending more than a year of uncertainty for the collapsed steelmaker.
British consortium GFG Alliance, led by metals magnate Sanjeev Gupta, trumped a rival proposal from a South Korean group late on Tuesday.
Arrium administrators KordaMentha yesterday settled the sale with GFG.
Administrator Mark Mentha said the deal was “a great result for Arrium Australia employees” and for the South Australian city of Whyalla, where Arrium’s flagship steelworks is located.
“It ensures their future and ends 15 months of uncer- tainty,” Mr Mentha said in a statement.
He did not disclose financial details of the bid.
GFG or Gupta Family Group – comprising the Liberty House steelmaking and industrials group and commodities business SIMEC – has bought Arrium’s operations, which include the Whyalla steelworks and port, an east coast steel business, and an iron ore mine in South Australia.
GFG submitted a revised bid for the Arrium business on Tuesday to beat South Korean private equity firm Newlake Alliance Management.
Newlake was chosen as the preferred bidder in June but is believed to have made its proposal conditional on further government support. It was unable to finalise the support before its exclusivity period ended last week.
Liberty and SIMEC hold interests spanning steelmaking, aluminium smelting, energy, commodities trading, shipping, property and finance.
Chairman Sanjeev Gupta, known as Britain’s ‘ man of steel’ for turning around distressed steel assets, shot to prominence last year after offering to rescue Tata Steel’s UK steel plants.
“We aim to leverage the advantages of integration across the value chain, from raw materials and metal production to high- end engineered products,” Mr Gupta said in a statement after the deal was announced.
“The Arrium business fits perfectly with this strategy and we believe it has an exciting future.”
The deal will secure the jobs of more than 5500 Australian workers at Arrium, he added.
Arrium, formerly known as OneSteel, was placed in voluntary administration in April 2016 after lenders refused to take a severe discount on their debt as part of a rescue deal.
The company, which formerly operated as BHP’s long steel products division, was hit hard by a plunge in iron ore and steel prices.
The administrators have cut costs by $ 300 million through reduced supply contracts and savings, while the SA government has pledged $ 50 million to the new owner to help upgrade the plant.
GFG’s purchase depends on approval from Arrium’s creditors committee and the Foreign Investment Review Board.
The Australian Workers’ Union welcomed the deal, saying the GFG Alliance enjoyed an “outstanding international reputation” after investing strongly in heavy industry in Europe and the UK.