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Liberty Steel agrees debt restructuring deal

FILE PHOTO: Steel is seen in the rolling mill following the recommissioning of the works by Liberty Steel Group at the Dalzell steel plant in Motherwell

LONDON (Reuters) - The Liberty Steel group owned by commodities tycoon Sanjeev Gupta has reached an agreement to restructure much of its debt for global operations, it said on Tuesday, while negotiations continue on the debt of its European business.

Gupta's family conglomerate, GFG Alliance, has been scrambling to arrange refinancing for its cash-starved web of businesses in steel, aluminium and energy after supply chain finance firm Greensill filed for insolvency in March last year.

Liberty said in a statement that it had signed a term sheet subject to contract on an agreement in principle on debt restructuring with parties responsible for the main creditors of Greensill Capital UK Ltd, Greensill Bank AG and Credit Suisse Asset Management.

The steelmaker, which has operations in Britain, Europe, the United States, Australia and Asia, did not say how much debt was being restructured.

The company said in June that it had reached a standstill agreement with its largest creditor, Greensill Bank, on debt facilities for its European business.

Tuesday's statement said Liberty was in the process of negotiating a similar term sheet for restructuring debt for the European business.

German-based Greensill Bank is a subsidiary of Greensill Capital, which lent money to businesses by buying their invoices at a discount, but it collapsed after one of its main insurers declined to renew its cover.

Britain's Serious Fraud Office (SFO) in April stepped up an investigation into suspected fraud, fraudulent trading and money laundering at Gupta Family Group Alliance (GFG).

A GFG spokesperson declined to comment at the time, but an internal memo seen by Reuters said the company had consistently rejected any wrongdoing and pledged full cooperation.

(Reporting by Eric Onstad; Editing by David Goodman)