International industrials and metals group, Liberty House, has entered into 'exclusive negotiations' with Tata Steel UK to acquire its Speciality Steels business for £100 million.
Tata Steel has signed a 'letter of Intent' with Liberty House Group for the potential sale of UK steel business by early 2017.
The business, based largely in South Yorkshire, manufactures a range of high-value speciality steel products for the automotive and aerospace sectors.
The acquisition would secure the jobs of around 1,700 steel-workers at major production facilities in Stocksbridge and Rotherham, a mill in Brinsworth and at service centres in Wednesbury and Bolton, plus thousands more in the UK supply chain.
Sheffield MP Angela Smith represents constituents in Stocksbridge where 800 jobs have been secured.
She said: “After almost a year of uncertainty and delay from Tata, the news that Speciality Steels is to be sold will be welcome news for the thousands of steelworkers whose jobs depend on the success of the business.
“Steel MPs and Trade Unions have spent months campaigning to save these jobs and today’s news is a credit to everyone who has worked so hard to ensure the business has a viable future.
“The number one priority must now be ensuring Liberty have a proper plan to protect jobs and provide the long term investment necessary to grow the business.
“Crucial to this plan will be ensuring that the businesses loyal workforce have a pension plan that provides dignity and security in retirement.
“There is no doubt this is a positive step for the UK steel industry; however there still remains huge challenges ahead for the industry.
“For example the government still needs to deal with the issues of energy costs, business rates, and procurement rules continue to put British businesses at a disadvantage.
“The Steel Group of MPs will continue to campaign for a solution to these issues and will work with government and steel producers to secure a long term future for this vital industry.”
The Speciality Steels plants specialise in manufacturing carbon, alloy and stainless steels for highly-demanding applications, with all of the output derived from recycled steel, melted in electric arc furnaces. This globally leading business also has distribution facilities in China.
Sanjeev Gupta, executive chairman of the Liberty House Group said: “We look forward to working with Tata Steel over the coming weeks to complete this hugely important milestone transaction.
"We recognise the world-class skills of the Speciality Steels workforce and are eager to join with them to develop the business and increase market share, both domestically and internationally using our global presence.
"As part of that process we will now engage fully with the trade unions and the local community. We are counting on their full support.”
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