Liberty House chief ‘not married’ to steel takeover

Sanjeev Guptas firm took over two Scottish sites last week. Picture: PA
Sanjeev Guptas firm took over two Scottish sites last week. Picture: PA
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The executive chairman of the commodity group which has expressed interest in buying the whole of Tata’s UK steel operations has said he is not “married” to the plan and could still walk away.

Sanjeev Gupta is the founder of Liberty House, the only company to publicly express an interest in Tata’s plants, including threatened Port Talbot in Wales.

But yesterday the steel magnate said that the company would not take on any plants that meant it would sustain losses as it was “not our business model”.

Liberty House last week took over two Scottish steel mills, Dalzell and Clydebridge, six months after Tata Group announced it was mothballing them with the loss of 270 jobs.

The Indian conglomerate announced it planned to sell off its loss-making UK steel empire. Business Secretary Sajid Javid then launched crisis talks with the firm in an attempt to ensure it was a “responsible seller”.

Mr Gupta said that changes, including switching from blast furnaces to electrically powered furnaces that melt scrap steel in Port Talbot, could produce “a very clear opportunity to turn things around, make money and create a sustainable business”.

But he said: “I feel passionately about this and would like to do it, but I am not married to it. It is too big a deal for us to get wrong. It could put the whole company at risk.”

He added that he had not yet engaged with Tata and while he did not anticipate job losses, he knew taking on the plants would not be easy.