Indian steel giant Tata Steel today said a ‘process of transformation’ was ongoing to ensure a ‘viable future’ for its units that remain under the company’s ownership in the UK. The company confirmed that discussions with British Steel Pension Scheme trustees and the UK Pensions Regulator will be concluded in the coming months. “Tata Steel UK recently completed a consultation with its employees on proposals to structurally reduce risks in its wider UK business. It is also in discussions with the British Steel Pension Scheme trustees and the Pension Regulator to develop a structural solution for its UK pension scheme in the coming months,” a company statement said.
“Tata Steel’s UK business continues its process of transformation that is essential to create a viable future for its UK strip products business. Tata Steel’s strip products business will continue to employ almost 8,500 people in the UK, manufacturing products for sectors like the automotive and construction industries,” it said.
The latest on Tata Steel’s UK business came as it announced the completion of the sale of its Speciality Steels business to UK-based Liberty House Group for a total consideration of 100 million pounds. Indian-origin steel tycoon Sanjeev Gupta led industrial group had earlier unveiled plans to add around 300 new jobs and multi-million-pound investments into the division it acquired from Tata Steel UK.
The acquisition covers several South Yorkshire based assets, including the electric arc steelworks and bar mill at Rotherham, the steel purifying facility in Stocksbridge and a mill in Brinsworth, as well as service centres in Bolton and Wednesbury in the UK and at Suzhou and Xi’an in China. “As a responsible owner, Tata Steel in the last couple of years has undertaken a transformation plan at Speciality Steels, including investing in a state-of-the-art vacuum induction melting furnace, to ensure the business can have a sustainable future,” said Bimlendra Jha, CEO of Tata Steel UK.
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Tata Steel claims to have invested 1.5 billion pounds in its UK business since acquiring Corus in 2007. The company said the investments to improve manufacturing capability will enable the production of premium steels in Shotton, Llanwern, Trostre and Orb in Newport, as well as environmental schemes for Port Talbot’s power plant in Wales. “Investments in packaging steels, electrical steels, an automotive finishing line, laser welding and next-generation coated products support the company’s focus on making differentiated and advanced steel products for key manufacturers in the UK and elsewhere,” Tata Steel said.
The Indian steel major has been working on finding a solution to its pension scheme liabilities as part of talks with ThyssenKrupp to merge its UK units with the German giant’s European steel operations.