Hundreds of jobs could be saved in Liberty Steel shake-up - but others under threat with plans to sell plant

HUNDREDS of jobs at Rotherham’s biggest steel plant could be saved under its owner’s new restructure plans – but there is uncertainty over the future of another site just down the road.

Liberty Steel revealed on Monday that it had put in place a blueprint to refinance and restructure the business.



The plans include the firm’s Aldwarke plant recycling huge volumes of steel scrap in what’s known as “greensteel” production, which Liberty said would protect hundreds of jobs and make the site one of the largest of its kind in Europe.

But staff at the narrow strip mill at Brinsworth will fear for the future after Liberty said it would be put up for sale.

The company said its restructure “will allow Liberty to focus on developing its Rotherham plant, including its electric arc furnaces into a competitive 2 million tonnes recycled greensteel plant one of the largest in Europe", adding: "The plant will make use of some of the millions of tons of steel scrap currently exported by the UK to make more of the quality steel needed in the UK, which is currently being imported.”

The announcement – coming two months after demands were made to bring the struggling firm into public control - follows what Liberty called “very constructive and productive meetings at the weekend in Dubai”.

Boss Sanjeev Gupta, who owns parent company GFG Alliance, and his newly-formed restructuring and transformation committee were said to be in advanced discussions with Credit Suisse Asset Management (CS) “to reach a formal standstill agreement on its Liberty Primary Metals Australia business while refinancing is completed that will repay CS out in full”.

The company said in a statement: “Both parties also made significant progress in agreeing a framework to resolve GFG Alliance’s remaining exposure with CS.

“This work includes identifying a positive solution which will allow Liberty to complete the restructuring and refinancing of its UK operations, protecting thousands of jobs and supporting the fulfilment of its vision to be a leader in the decarbonisation of the UK steel industry.”

The restructuring will cause shockwaves in Stocksbridge, where the aerospace and special alloys steel business will be sold, and Brinsworth, for which Liberty said “a formal sale process will be launched shortly”.

Liberty said this area of the business was not core to the greensteel vision”.

Rotherham MP Sarah Champion said: “I will be closely monitoring developments and doing everything I can to ensure that jobs, as well as employees terms and conditions, are protected in any changes in the business.