Indian-origin tycoon to submit bid for Tata Steel

Indian-origin tycoon to submit bid for Tata Steel

Indian-origin businessman Sanjeev Gupta's Liberty House group will today submit its letter of intent to acquire Tata Steel's loss making units in the UK.

Central to the Indian steel giant's assets in the UK is the Port Talbot steelworks in south Wales, which is the UK’s largest and employs around 4,000 workers.

"We can confirm that Liberty will submit a letter of intent to Tata Steel today (Tuesday) and has put in place a strong internal transaction steering committee and panel of leading external advisers to take the bid forward," a Liberty spokesperson told PTI.

Tata's remaining assets include sites at Newport, where more than 1,300 people are employed, and Rotherham, which employs 1,200.

Tata also has operations at Corby, Shotton and Teesside.

Liberty had recently completed its acquisition of two Scottish plants earlier owned by Tata Steel.

The Tata Group has indicated that it is ideally in search of a buyer that can acquire all its remaining assets in the country.

"We would not deal with somebody saying leave alone Port Talbot and give us the rest. That is not a solution that’s acceptable," Tata Steel UK CEO Bimlendra Jha had told a House of Commons hearing last week.

Australian bank Macquarie is advising Liberty and is also considered a potential financial backer of any takeover.

State Bank of India, Deloitte and Grant Thornton are among other firms involved which, among other issues, will advise Liberty House on dealing with the nearly 500 million pound funding deficit in Tata’s pensions scheme, considered the biggest stumbling block in clinching a sale.

Gupta, a Punjab-born graduate in economics and management from Cambridge University, has said in the past that he hopes to save as many jobs if his firm was to go ahead with a bid.

"If heavy job losses comes out to be the price to pay, we would not be the ones undertaking that exercise. We will undertake this exercise if we can sustain jobs, which we feel is possible at this stage," Gupta had told PTI in early April, when he was dubbed the saviour of the UK's steel industry.

Other potential bidders for the remaining Tata Steel UK assets include Albion Steel, a UK start-up business with industry veteran Tony Pedder on the board.

It is believed to be eyeing Tata’s specialty steels unit based in Sheffield, northern England.

A Tata management team buyout is seen as the other serious contender at this stage.

The Tata Group had acquired its UK steel operations as part of a 6.7 billion pound acquisition from Anglo-Dutch steelmaker Corus in 2009.

The firm has blamed structural disadvantages in the UK, such as extremely high energy costs, as the reason for the crisis in the steel industry.  

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