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
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.