UK Minister Meets Mistry Today to Secure Jobs Post Tata Steel Exit
Britain may provide financial support to secure the sale of assets
UK business minister Sajid Javid is travelling to Mumbai to meet Tata Group Chairman Cyrus Mistry on Wednesday to stave off the possible loss of thousands of jobs at Britain’s largest steelmaker that could result from a sale or shutdown.
Tata Steel decided to sell its poorly performing UK steel unit last week, giving up its bid to turn around the business it bought as part of the takeover of Corus at the peak of the commodity price boom in 2007. The business has suffered almost a decade of losses amid poor demand and the influx of cheap Chinese imports.
“I will travel to Mumbai later tomorrow to discuss details of the UK steel sales process with Tata Chairman Cyrus Mistry,” Javid tweeted on Tuesday. He has met senior Tata executives in London to discuss the matter. According to the Guardian newspaper, Javid has hinted at financial support that the UK government may be willing to provide to secure a sale of Tatas’ British assets.
Javid said he wants potential buyers to understand that the UK government would have a role if Mistry pushed for a sale.
Tata’s decision to exit the UK has become a political issue in that country, which votes soon in a referendum on staying in the European Union. The government is also thought to have contacted investment firm Greybull and ThyssenKrupp, the German industrial conglomerate regarding the sale, the Guardian reported.
Before leaving London, Javid met Liberty House’s Sanjeev Gupta to discuss a potential sale. Indian-origin Gupta has emerged as a potential acquirer with a plan to revive Tata Steel UK.
Gupta said he had a positive meeting with Javid in London and is awaiting the defining of a formal sales process and a request for indications of interest from prospective buyers.
“We await further details on this and then will assess our own next step,” Gupta said in a statement. “Liberty has already proven its ability to build value from UK steel assets with our acquisition of our Newport Steel plant, Midlands engineering operations and most recently in Scotland where we acquired mills from Tata.” Gupta said the UK government appears highly supportive and is proactively engaged in finding a long-term solution. He said Liberty is also actively engaged with Welsh government. Tata Steel’s Port Talbot facility is located in Wales.
UNDER PRESSURE: Sajid Javid