The owner of two closure-threatened steel plants in Scotland is in talks with an investment firm to sell off the sites as part of a potential deal thought to be worth hundreds of millions of pounds.
Tata Steel has signed a “Letter of Intent” with Greybull Capital for the possible sale of its Long Products business, including the Scottish mills in Dalzell and Clydebridge, as well as steelworks in Scunthorpe and Teesside.
However, a trade union claimed the development “does not solve the problem” of job losses, as it said a large part of the 270-strong workforce in Scotland had already been made redundant and that the two mills were being mothballed.
The Scottish Government also said there are “no guarantees” on jobs and demanded to know the implications for the Dalzell and Clydebridge plants, which are facing closure, effectively ending steelmaking north of the Border.
Karl Koehler, chief executive of Tata Steel’s European operations, said it was “too early to give any certainty about the potential outcome of these discussions” on the plants.
Greybull Capital, which says it makes long-term investments in firms, bought a majority stake in low-cost airline Monarch in October 2014 and was involved in the acquisition of the M Local convenience stores sold off by supermarket giant Morrisons.
Steelworkers’ union Community called for Scottish Government to do more to find a separate buyer for the two sites.
A union spokesman said: “Tata Steel’s announcement that the Dalzell and Clydebridge mills are in scope for the potential sale of Long Products to Greybull does not mean their future has been secured.
“Tata announced their intention to mothball the Scottish mills and pull out of the steel plates market long before any bids to acquire Long Products were submitted.
“Therefore the business model Tata presented to investors did not include a future in plates, and the possible sale to Greybull does not solve the problem. Seventy steelworkers were made redundant from the Scottish mills last week and many more are set to leave the business in January.
“It is imperative that the Scottish Government’s task force redoubles their efforts to secure a sustainable future for Dalzell and Clydebridge and ensure that the skills and assets are preserved until a buyer can be found.”
Business minister Fergus Ewing said the Scottish Government wanted “an early meeting” with Tata Steel and Greybull bosses to clarify the implications for jobs at the Dalzell and Clydebridge mills.