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Liberty Steel plans sale of Stocksbridge plant in restructuring

·2-min read

Liberty Steel is looking for a buyer for its aerospace and steel business in Stocksbridge, outside Sheffield, as part of a major restructuring, the business announced on Monday.

The company has also started a formal sale process for Coventry’s Liberty Pressing Solutions, and Liberty Aluminium Technologies, which has sites in Essex and Kidderminster.

It will also try to sell its manufacturing facilities in Brinsworth, South Yorkshire, and in West Bromwich. Between them all, the plants for sale employ around 1,500 people.

It comes as part of a major restructuring following the collapse of Greensill Capital in March this year.

When the financing company went into administration, its lawyers revealed that it had around five billion dollars (£3.5 billion) of exposure to Liberty’s parent company GFG Alliance.

It sparked worries about Liberty’s future, and that of its 5,000 UK staff.

  • Stocksbridge - 762 employees

  • Brinsworth - 101 employees

  • Performance Steels West Bromwich - 167 employees

  • Aluminium Technologies (Coventry) - 129 employees

  • Aluminium Technologies (Kidderminster) - 55 employees

  • Aluminium Technologies (Witham) - 66 employees

  • Liberty Pressing Solutions (Coventry) - 225 employees

Liberty said on Monday that it could protect thousands of jobs by restructuring the business.

The aerospace and special alloys steel business in Stocksbridge is “a unique, high quality business servicing marquee customers in aerospace, auto and other highly engineered applications,” the business said.

However it is not a core part of Liberty’s Greensteel plan to create more environmentally-friendly steel.

By selling, Liberty hopes it can focus on scaling up its plant in Rotherham to make two million tonnes of green steel.

“The plant will make use of some of the millions of tonnes of steel scrap currently exported by the UK to make more of the quality steel needed in the UK, which is currently being imported,” Liberty said.

The announcement follows a weekend of meetings in Dubai between GFG founder Sanjeev Gupta – once hailed as the hope of UK steel – and Swiss bank Credit Suisse.

The two sides have reached a so-called standstill agreement over Liberty Primary Metals Australia.

A spokesperson for the National Trade Union Steel Co-ordinating Committee said: “Stocksbridge and its downstream plants are strategically important businesses vital to our country’s defence, energy and aerospace sectors.

“The future for these businesses must be secured and the trade unions will hold Sanjeev Gupta to his promise that none of our steel plants will close on his watch.

“Liberty must act as a responsible seller and run a transparent sales process which fully engages the trade unions. We will expect to meet any potential buyer to scrutinise their plans and test their commitment to the workforce and our industry.”

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