UK: Ef­forts to Find Buy­ers for Tata Steel As­sets in Line with EU Rules

The Economic Times - - Companies: Pursuit Of Profit -

Lon­don: Bri­tain’s ef­forts to help find a buyer for Tata Steel’s UK as­sets will com­ply with Euro­pean Union state aid reg­u­la­tions, Busi­ness Sec­re­tary Sa­jid Javid said on Sun­day, in­sist­ing any deal would not be a bailout or na­tion­al­i­sa­tion. In­dian con­glom­er­ate Tata said last month that it planned to sell its en­tire Bri­tish steel­mak­ing op­er­a­tion.

The prospect of at least10,000 job losses has prompted the govern­ment to of­fer fi­nan­cial sup­port in the hope of se­cur­ing a buyer. Javid said last week that the govern­ment could take a 25% equity stake as part of a sup­port pack­age worth hun­dreds of mil­lions of pounds.

In an in­ter­view with the Sun­day Times, he said any deal would be struc­tured to avoid run­ning foul of EU rules on state aid.

"It will all be com­pat­i­ble with state aid... Govern­ment can pro­vide fi­nanc­ing as long as it's on com­mer­cial terms," he said.

"I don't en­vis­age hav­ing to ap­ply for any ex­emp­tion or ap­proval from state aid. What­ever we've got in mind is com­pli­ant." Javid, a for­mer banker who is seen as one of the govern­ment's strong­est free-mar­ket ad­vo­cates, said any sup­port pack­age would be a com­mer­cial de­ci­sion.

"It's not a bailout; it's not a na­tion­al­i­sa­tion. Work­ing within that frame­work we can see suc­cess at the end of the road," he said.

Javid also dis­missed any sug­ges­tion that his will­ing­ness to help the sale had been in­flu­enced by a June 23 ref­er­en­dum on Bri­tain's mem­ber­ship of the Euro­pean Union, and the risk of trig­ger­ing a large protest vote against the govern­ment. "I don't think the ref­er­en­dum changes things one way or the other," he said.

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