UK may Co-invest with Pvt Partner in Tata Steel’s Port Talbot Plant
Earlier, the UK govt had resisted calls from unions and opposition politicians to nationalise the plant
Mumbai: The UK government would consider co-investing with a private sector partner to help save Port Talbot Steelworks, business secretary Sajid Javid said. Javid told the House of Commons in UK Parliament on Monday that the government was working very hard to find a buyer for the plant in South Wales, which is being sold by Tata Steel.
He declined to clarify exactly what “co-investing” meant, but said it showed the government would look at all options. This is a demonstration of how far the government can go to support Port Talbot Steelworks and the rest of the business, he said.
Earlier, the UK government had resisted calls from unions and opposition politicians to nationalise the plant, Britain's biggest steelworks.
Late last month, Tata Steel decided to entirely exit its poorly performing UK steel business, giving up on efforts to turn around the business it bought as part of the takeover of Corus at the height of the commodity boom in 2007. The company has suffered almost a decade of losses amid poor demand and cheap Chinese imports.
“There has been a lot of people who have expressed interest, and we are aware of some of the interest that you refer to in the media. I don’t want to give a number, but it is in tens, many tens actually," said Koushik Chatterjee, Tata Steel's director for finance, at a press briefing in the UK.
Tata announced the sale of its Scunthorpe plant to Greybull Capital for 1 pound on Monday in exchange of assets and 'relevant' liabilities, starting the end of its unsuccessful foray into the UK.
Javid claimed that several weeks ago Tata Steel told him that they were seriously considering an immediate closure of Port Talbot.
The future of the larger Port Talbot is still in doubt, although Liberty House, founded by Indian-origin Sanjeev Gupta, has expressed interest. Javid said the sale process for Port Talbot assets had just started, and all options were still being explored.
Javid added that he had been in contact
with potential buyers, making clear that the government stands ready to help. A government source, who spoke to Reuters on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the situation, said there was only a remote possibility that the state would end up taking an equity share in the Port Talbot operation.