Gupta: No Future For UK Steel If Energy Prices Don’t Come Down
The man touted as the most likely saviour of Tata’s loss-making UK steel empire has threatened to walk away from a potential deal if the Government fails to meet his terms.
Sanjeev Gupta, the only prospective buyer to come forward to take on Tata’s strip steel business, has said he is “not married” to a buyout – even though he “feels passionately about it”.
40,000 British steel-linked jobs were plunged into doubt a fortnight ago when the board of Tata’s Indian parent refused to back a management-backed turnaround plan for the business centred around the Port Talbot plant and instead put the assets on the block.
EY is understood to have been appointed by the Government to help find a buyer. KPMG is advising Tata on the sale, while PwC is trying to find a solution for its huge pension scheme.
Mr Gupta, executive chairman of commodity group Liberty House, quickly came forward as a potential white knight, with a plan to return it to profit in months. His aim is to replace the Port Talbot blast furnaces – which make steel from raw materials – with electric arc furnaces that melt scrap, a process he says will be more efficient.
However, Mr Gupta said he wants relief from high energy prices, which have contributed to the steel crisis, and is unlikely to take on the £500m pension deficit, or the estimated £1bn cost of cleaning up the site.
He is ready to walk away from a deal if his requirements are not met, it proves too complex, or requires external financial backing.