UK Min­is­ter Meets Mistry Today to Se­cure Jobs Post Tata Steel Exit

Bri­tain may pro­vide fi­nan­cial sup­port to se­cure the sale of as­sets

The Economic Times - - Front Page - Our Bureau

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

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