Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Tata Steel Talks Are Welcomed; INDUSTRY

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Tata Steel Talks Are Welcomed; INDUSTRY

Article excerpt

Byline: COREENA FORD coreena.ford@ncjmedia.co.uk

UNION leaders have welcomed news that Tata Steel, which has mills on Teesside, has signed a Letter of Intent with Greybull Capital for the potential sale of its Long Products business.

Tata said the move will lead to exclusive negotiations with the investment firm and covers several UK-based assets including the Scunthorpe steelworks, mills in Teesside and northern France, an engineering workshop in Workington, and a design consultancy in York.

It also includes Tata Steel's Scottish mills in Dalzell and Clydebridge which are currently being mothballed. The announcement follows a spate of job losses in the steel industry and fears for the future of Tata's Long Products business.

Karl Koehler, chief executive of Tata Steel's European operations, said: "This is an extremely critical time for the whole industry, and we have been working hard to explore all options that could provide a future for the Long Products Europe business. 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.

"We will continue to work closely with our trade unions and works councils and will communicate any relevant news to employees on an ongoing basis. In the meantime, Tata Steel and our Long Products Europe business will continue to work closely with customers to deliver highquality products."

Bimlendra Jha, executive chairman of the Long Products Europe business, said: "Today's announcement is the result of the huge effort put in by employees, trade unions and management to seek a future for the Long Products Europe business by creating a turnaround plan.

"The development of this plan, in co-operation with customers, suppliers and government, has enabled us to reach this stage, though much work remains to be done to reach a successful outcome."

About 4,700 people are employed at Long Products Europe and its distribution facilities.

Tata Steel Europe employs around 30,000 people across Europe, including about 17,000 in the UK.

Greybull said in a brief statement: "Greybull Capital LLP confirms that it has signed a Letter of Intent with Tata Steel to enter exclusive discussions on the possible acquisition of the Long Products Europe business based in Scunthorpe, North Lincolnshire. …

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