Agony goes on for 750 steelworkers at up for sale Stocksbridge site

Stocksbridge steelworks is still up for sale despite its parent company experiencing strong demand and record prices – leaving 750 jobs in limbo.

Thursday, 5th August 2021, 3:46 pm

Plans to ‘separate’ the Speciality Steels site are ongoing, GFG Alliance announced in an update on global activities. The company said it had been bolstered by strong performance in its core businesses worldwide.

But it had brought in a new management team at Liberty Steel UK who would oversee the ‘separation’ of Stocksbridge, as well as Brinsworth strip mill in Rotherham and Performance Steel in West Bromwich.

The three sites were put up for sale in May after Liberty was plunged into crisis following the collapse of lender Greensill. Liberty has 11 sites in the UK including at Aldwarke in Rotherham which employs 800.

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Liberty Speciality Steels, Stocksbridge. Picture: Chris Etchells

Bosses said then they wanted to focus on the Rotherham plant, including its electric arc furnaces, which produces steel used in construction and infrastructure projects.

Jeffrey S. Stein, GFG Alliance chief restructuring officer said: “It is encouraging that discussions with creditors continue to progress well and our global restructuring plans continue to develop. In many cases, refinancing options have been oversubscribed.

“Our core markets in steel, aluminium, and iron ore are performing beyond expectations, bolstered by high demand and record prices. This in turn has led to our core assets achieving strong financial results.

“While there remains much to do, we are pleased with the progress made to date and confident in the resilience of the business going forwards.”

Reinforcement bar at Liberty Steel in Rotherham.

Stocksbridge MP Miriam Cates, a Conservative, said: “It's important that progress is being made in the restructuring and refinancing of the Liberty Steel Group, as this process must be completed before the sale of Stocksbridge Speciality Steels can move forward.”

The Government was monitoring progress ‘very closely’, she added.

Ross Murdoch, GMB national officer, said: "GMB will be meeting with Liberty steel in the next few weeks to discuss the progress of the refinancing of the company and the protection of our members jobs across the business.”

Ed Miliband MP, Labour’s shadow business secretary, said: "The Government must show it has a plan B to protect the long-term future of our steel industry, including at Liberty - and public ownership must remain an option on the table."

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Thank you. Nancy Fielder, editor.