The owner of the 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 worth hundreds of millions of pounds.
Tata Steel has signed a “Letter of Intent” with Greybull Capital for the potential sale of its Long Products business, including the Scottish mills in Dalzell and Clydebridge which are currently being mothballed.
Tata said the move will lead to exclusive negotiations with the investment firm and covers several UK-based assets that also include the Scunthorpe steelworks, mills in Teesside and northern France, an engineering workshop in Workington, and a design consultancy in York.
Karl Koehler, chief executive of Tata Steel’s European operations, said: “We will now move into detailed negotiations with Greybull Capital. It is too early to give any certainty about the potential outcome of these discussions.”
However, unions and the Scottish government demanded to know what would be the implications for jobs at the Dalzell and Clydebridge plants, which are facing closure, effectively ending steelmaking north of the Border.
Scotland’s business Minister Fergus Ewing said: “Our primary aim is to secure a future for Scottish steel.
“While the development is potentially welcome, the agreement between Tata Steel and Greybull Capital LLP is still at a very early stage and there can be no guarantees it will proceed – or that it will lead to a secure future for jobs at the plants involved.
“I am in close contact with Tata Steel and Greybull and I am seeking an early meeting to determine the precise implications for production and jobs at the Dalzell and Clydebridge plants.”
Roy Rickhuss, general secretary of the Community steelworkers’ union, said: “We welcome the interest from Greybull in giving Long Products a future outside Tata Steel.
“Of course the devil will be in the detail of the deal and we will be seeking further discussions with both Tata Steel and Greybull to fully understand their intentions and the implications for steelworkers.”