Jobs hope over steel plant deal

The Scotsman - - Business Keep Dreaming: - Vic­to­ria thom­Son

sTeeL­WOrK­ers were cel­e­brat­ing last night af­ter news that a huge plant moth­balled ear­lier this year with the loss of more than 1,000 jobs is to be sold to a Thai com­pany.

The Corus plant on Teesside was par­tially closed when a four­na­tion in­ter­na­tional con­sor­tium sud­denly walked away from a long-term con­tract to buy its prod­ucts.

Hun­dreds of work­ers at the Teesside Cast Prod­ucts (TCP) site lost their jobs and there were fears of thou­sands more losses across the re­gion in firms that supplied Corus with goods and ser­vices.

af­ter months of be­hind-thescenes talks, it was an­nounced yes­ter­day that plans were un­der way to sell the fac­tory to ssI, the biggest steel pro­ducer in Thai­land, for £320 mil­lion, rais­ing the prospect of a “sig­nif­i­cant” num­ber of new jobs and re­turn­ing the plant to full pro­duc­tion.

Talks to fi­nalise the deal will con­tinue in the com­ing months and will in­clude ne­go­ti­a­tions with unions and the govern­ment over em­ploy­ment de­tails as well as the prospect of fi­nan­cial aid.

Win Viriyapra­paikit, pres­i­dent of ssI, said: “We have great re­spect for the tra­di­tion of steel­mak­ing on Teesside and for the highly skilled Teesside work­force, hav­ing pre­vi­ously pur­chased slab from Teesside Cast Prod­ucts.

“This trans­ac­tion will en­able ssI to ful­fil its long-stand­ing ob­jec­tive of be­com­ing a fully in­te­grated steel pro­ducer with both melt­ing and rolling fa­cil­i­ties.”

He said it was too early to say how many jobs would be cre­ated, but be­lieved it would be in the hun­dreds.

He also de­clined to say if the govern­ment would be asked for grants or other forms of aid, but said he was look­ing for­ward to dis­cus­sions with min­is­ters about a “wide range” of is­sues.

Corus chief ex­ec­u­tive Kirby adams said: “We are very pleased to an­nounce this sig­nif­i­cant progress in our longheld ob­jec­tive to sell the TCP as­sets to a strate­gic in­dus­try in­vestor.”

ear­lier this month, Corus an­nounced it was mak­ing its biggest in­vest­ment in its scot­tish steel plant at Dalzell in Mother­well for nearly 40 years, cre­at­ing up to 60 jobs, to help meet ris­ing de­mand for heavy plate prod­ucts.

Boe­ing has pushed back the spring de­liv­ery of its first 787 Dream­liner to a Ja­panese air­line by

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