A Sheffield firm could win the race to buy Tata’s Speciality Steels division after the shortlist of bidders was cut to two.
Albion Steel, a start-up headed by Forgemasters chairman Tony Pedder, is up against international steel company Liberty House Group.
The shortlist was revealed by a Community Union source, who also said a decision was set to be made by the middle of October.
He added: “I’m told both bidders have promised to keep the business together. It’s great news that our heritage of steelmaking in Rotherham and South Yorkshire is being retained.”
It is believed that Liberty Group is the front runner in the contest.
A value of £100m has been suggested for the deal.
Speciality Steels employs 1,800 including 860 in Stocksbridge, 750 at Thrybergh and 110 in Brinsworth, Rotherham. It also has a unit in Hartlepool.
Earlier this year Greybull Capital bought Tata’s Long Products division for £1.
Tata put its entire loss-making UK operations up for sale.
The process was paused after the Government offered financial assistance, and a rise in steel prices.
The sale of Speciality Steels is going ahead separately and without subsidy.
Some 70 per cent of business is export, half into Europe, on turnover of £300m. It makes aerospace, automotive and oil and gas products.
Liberty, run by Sanjeev Gupta, is an international steel and non-ferrous metals group, operating from four financial hubs, in the UK, Dubai, Singapore and Hong Kong, with a global network of offices spread across 30 countries.
The group has 3,000 employees and turnover of $4.3 billion.
The UK steel sector has suffered thousands of job losses in the past year due to a global crisis caused by over supply and dumping by Chinese producers.
Tata quarterly results, released this week, showed a net loss of £358m for the quarter to June. A Tata spokesman said: “The sale process continues.”
Liberty and Albion Steel declined to comment.