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Tata Steel to sell UK plants

Tata Steel announces potential sale of Long Products Europe business

Tata Steel has today announced that it will be putting its Long Products Europe business on the market, potentially leading to the sale of several UK assets. The news follows the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with Klesch Group to undertake detailed due diligence and negotiations for the potential sale.

The assets covered under the memorandum include Tata Steel’s Scunthorpe steelworks, mills in Teeside, Dalzell and Clydebridge in Scotland, an engineering workshop in Workington and a rail consultancy in York. It also covers operations in France and Germany. The Long Products Europe business and its distribution facilities employs around 6,500 people. Tata Steel employs 30,500 people in Europe with around 17,500 of those working in the UK.

Karl Koehler, Chief Executive of Tata Steel’s European operations, said: “We will now move into detailed due diligence and negotiations, though no assurance can be given about the outcome. We will regularly engage with our employees and other stakeholders throughout this process, and we will consult with the trade union representatives and works councils.”

Explaining the context and rationale for this decision, Mr Koehler said: “We are making huge strides on our strategic journey to become a premium, customer-centred steel company thanks to investment in equipment, technology and customers, together with the substantial contributions from our employees.

“We’ve improved the competitiveness of Tata Steel’s European operations, including Long Products Europe which now supplies more of the innovative steel rail, rod, plate, sections and special profile products demanded by customers.

“Accelerating the pace of innovation on advanced steel solutions, helping our customers succeed in their markets and creating a sustainable asset base requires significant capital and expertise.

“We have therefore decided to concentrate our resources mainly on our strip products activities, where we have greater cross-European production and technological synergies.

“We want to build a sustainable business in the UK and further develop our mainland Europe business and we are committed to providing the necessary leadership and financial resources to achieve that.”

Recently the European steel industry has experienced one of the most challenging economic periods in its history. Tata Steel has put £1.2Bn of investment into its UK operations and trained 1,200 UK apprentices and graduates since it acquired Corus in 2007.