Tata Steel Set to Launch UK Sale Process on Apr 11

To ap­point i-banker soon; Bri­tain’s biz secy Sa­jid Javid meets Group Chair­man Cyrus Mistry

The Economic Times - - Front Page - Megha.Man­davia@ times­group.com

Mum­bai: Tata Steel will launch a for­mal sale process for its loss-mak­ing UK as­sets on April 11 and will ap­point an in­vest­ment banker soon, peo­ple familiar with the mat­ter told ET af­ter a cru­cial meet­ing be­tween UK busi­ness sec­re­tary Sa­jid Javid and Tata Group Chair­man Cyrus Mistry on Wed­nes­day.

Tata Steel also con­veyed to the busi­ness sec­re­tary that the com­pany will look at sell­ing its UK as­sets in parts if it can’t find a buyer for the whole busi­ness. Wor­ried about job losses, Unions in UK have op­posed such a move. The UK gov­ern­ment and Tata Steel agreed to ap­point a global con­sul­tant to ad­vise on the sale. UK wants to en­sure the com­pany does not hastily shut down the steel plants if a buyer is not found soon.

“Met with Tata Steel in In­dia today.

US Busi­ness Secy

Tatas will look at sell­ing its UK as­sets in parts if it can’t find a buyer for the whole busi­ness

I’m de­ter­mined to do all I can to se­cure a long-term vi­able fu­ture for UK steel & work­ers,” Javid tweeted late evening. “Con­struc­tive and pos­i­tive meet­ing. For­mal sales process will be­gin by Mon­day. Govt will do all it can to help se­cure a se­ri­ous buyer.”

He also tweeted that there was no set time frame for the en­tire process and Tata Steel will al­low a rea­son­able pe­riod to find a buyer. Javid ar­rived at Bom­bay House at 4 pm on Wed­nes­day. He de­clined to take any ques­tions from the news me­dia and met Mistry and other key Tata ex­ec­u­tives.

The UK gov­ern­ment is con­sid­er­ing a fi­nan­cial pack­age for Tata Steel’s UK op­er­a­tions, a gov­ern­ment spokesper­son said. “The UK gov­ern­ment does not want to se­lect a buyer but wants to work with Tata Steel on the sale process. The gov­ern­ment is con­sid­er­ing a fi­nan­cial pack­age for the sale. The pack­age will de­pend on the re­quests and con­cerns of the po­ten­tial buyer,” Javid's press sec­re­tary Daniel Mun­den told ET.

Tata Steel UK em­ploys 15,000 peo­ple in the coun­try. In­vest­ment firm Grey­bull, Ger­man in- dus­trial con­glom­er­ate ThyssenKrupp and trad­ing firm Lib­erty House have shown in­ter­est in the UK as­sets. “The gov­ern­ment must work to en­sure the in­tegrity of the busi­ness is guar­an­teed. Al­low­ing Tata or other in­vestors to cherry-pick as­sets will put steel-mak­ing at risk,” said Com­mu­nity Union spokesman Matt Ball.

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 meet­ing which lasted for two hours was at­tended by Kaushik Chat­ter­jee, Tata Steel ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor for finance and cor­po­rate, and Madhu Kan­nan, a mem­ber of the Group Ex­ec­u­tive Board.

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