Hundreds of jobs at risk as Liberty Steel puts Stocksbridge steelworks up for sale

Crisis-torn Liberty Steel is set to sell off its Stocksbridge works in bombshell news for the town.

Monday, 24th May 2021, 1:28 pm

The firm said the 750-strong aerospace and special alloys steel business was ‘not core to the Greensteel vision’.

The narrow strip mill at Brinsworth in Rotherham will also be put up for sale.

A formal process ‘will be launched shortly’, it added.

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Furnaces at Liberty Steel in Rotherham.
Furnaces at Liberty Steel in Rotherham.

Bosses said they planned to focus on developing the Rotherham plant, including its electric arc furnaces.

Liberty Steel was plunged into crisis after the collapse of lender Greensill earlier this year.

The firm, which employs 1,600 in Stocksbridge and Rotherham and has 11 sites in the UK, owes Greensill ‘many billions’.

Stocksbridge, which has 165-year history of steelmaking, was also hit by a downturn in aerospace due to the pandemic. Most workers were put on furlough on March 12 to save money.

Liberty Speciality Steels, Stocksbridge. Picture: Chris Etchells

The announcement comes as Liberty Steel Group said it had made progress on refinancing and restructuring in the UK and Australia.

Executive chairman Sanjeev Gupta said they were in advanced discussions on a formal standstill agreement on Liberty Primary Metals Australia until refinancing was completed that would repay Credit Suisse Asset Management in full.

A spokesman said: “This work includes identifying a positive solution which will allow Liberty to complete the restructuring and refinancing of its UK operations, protecting thousands of jobs and supporting the fulfilment of its vision to be a leader in the decarbonisation of the UK steel industry.

‘As part of this restructuring Liberty will look to sell its aerospace and special alloys steel business in Stocksbridge, which while being a unique, high quality business servicing marquee customers in aerospace, auto and other highly engineered applications, is not core to the Greensteel vision of Liberty.

Liberty Speciality Steels, Stocksbridge. Picture: Chris Etchells

‘This sale will allow Liberty to focus on developing its Rotherham plant including its electric arc furnaces into a competitive 2 million tonnes recycled Greensteel plant, one of the largest in Europe.

‘The plant will make use of some of the millions of tons of steel scrap currently exported by the UK to make more of the quality steel needed in the UK, which is currently being imported.’

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Thank you. Nancy Fielder, editor.