Steel industry gets boost

International industrials and metals group, Liberty House, said it will create around 300 new steel jobs in South Yorkshire and make multi-million pound investments to secure the future of five sites across the North of England and West Midlands.

The news came as Liberty formally completed the £100m deal to acquire the Speciality Steels division of Tata Steel UK; protecting the jobs of 1,700 existing staff at three major sites at Rotherham, Stocksbridge and Brinsworth in South Yorkshire, smaller sites in Bolton, Lancashire and Wednesbury in the West Midlands and two distribution centres in China.

Speciality Steels produces a range of high-value steels used in the manufacture of vehicles, aircraft, industrial machinery and equipment for the oil and gas industry.

Liberty said it would invest up to £20m in new plants and equipment in the first year alone to boost competitiveness and secure international market leadership for the business, which is being relaunched as Liberty Speciality Steels.

The acquisition marks a major step forward for Liberty’s GREENSTEEL strategy as it gives the group the largest arc furnace capacity in the UK, a key component in its plan to increase low-carbon steel production based on recycling metal in furnaces powered by renewable energy. As part of the GREENSTEEL strategy, Liberty’s sister company SIMEC is actively considering investment in bio-diesel power generation at Speciality Steel sites.

Sanjeev Gupta, executive chairman of Liberty House said, ‘The Speciality Steels business is a global leader in its field, with a highly-skilled and well-motivated workforce and we are eager to invest so it can grow and achieve its full potential. Today marks a step change for the Liberty House Group because we are taking on strategically important capacity that will drive expansion in the years ahead. It will help us achieve our GREENSTEEL vision and facilitate investment in engineering products, thereby reducing the supply-chain gaps in the UK, especially in automotive and aerospace sectors.’

The acquisition makes Liberty one of the largest steel and engineering employers in the UK with over 4,500 workers.