Tata Steel sites left out of sell-off plan

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Tata Steel has confirmed it has no plans to sell any of its sites in South Yorkshire after putting its Long Products division up for sale.

A spokesman for the company confirmed its Speciality Steels business, which employs 2,400 people locally, was unaffected by negotiations with the Swiss-based Klesch Group.

Speciality Steels has a re-melting facility at Stocksbridge, a strip mill at Brinsworth and steelworks at Aldwarke Lane, Rotherham.

Tata yesterday announced it had signed a memorandum of understanding for the potential sale of sites employing 30,000 people including Scunthorpe steelworks, mills in Teesside, Dalzell and Clydebridge in Scotland, an engineering workshop in Workington and a rail consultancy in York, as well as operations in France and Germany.

Karl Koehler, chief executive of Tata Steel Europe, said: “We have decided to concentrate our resources mainly on our strip products activities, where we have greater cross-European production and technological synergies.”

The European steel industry is emerging from one of the most challenging economic periods in its history. Markets are still 25 per cent down on the pre-crisis peak of 2007, he added.

The company says it has invested £1.2 billion in UK operations since acquiring Corus in 2007.

Trade unions within Tata Steel – Community, Unite and GMB – angrily opposed the move.

A spokesman said: “The fact that Tata wants to abandon half of its European operations and pull out of an entire strategic market does not bode well for the future and ends Tata Steel’s vision to be a global steel player.”

Business Secretary Vince Cable said he welcomed Klesch’s stated intention to support the continuity of the business.