British govt to help secure a buyer for Tata Steel’s UK biz

British govt to help secure a buyer for Tata Steel's UK bizLONDON: Amid fears that 15,000 jobs may be lost, the UK today said it will appoint independent advisors once the sale of Tata Steel’s UK business commences and, along with the Welsh government, help in securing a buyer for the country’s largest steelmaker.

Government also assured the workers that “all possible” ministerial, official and diplomatic influence will be exerted to secure the steel industry’s long term future.

“Business Secretary Sajid Javid will today visit Port Talbot, where Tata Steel UK’s largest plant is based, to meet workers and the management,” UK government said in a statement.

Tata Steel, one of the flagship firm of the over USD 100 billion Indian conglomerate Tata Group, earlier this week disclosed plans to sell its entire UK business.

The move has threatened over 15,000 jobs amid a deepening crisis in the UK’s once-storied sector that the Indian conglomerate had entered nearly a decade ago with a USD 14-billion takeover with much fanfare.

“He (Javid) will say that once formal Tata sales process is underway, independent advisors will also be appointed by the government,” the statement said.

It added that as Prime Minister David Cameron has already said, the UK government intervention helped ensure that Tata announced a sales process for Port Talbot, rather immediate closure allowing ministers to play an active part in finding a sustainable solution, including engaging with market for potential buyers.

“Javid will work with Commercial Secretary to the Treasury Jim O’Neill, Chancellor of Duchy of Lancaster Oliver Letwin and Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns as well as Welsh Government in helping secure a buyer for Tata’s Steel assets following their announcement of their intention to divest their UK assets,” the statement added.
During his visit to Port Talbot, Javid will also meet the members of the Welsh Government, unions and local MPs.

On his visit, the Business Secretary said: “I’m going to Port Talbot to meet staff and management, who are understandably extremely anxious about their future.

“I will listen to them, and I want to reassure them myself that the government is on their side in working hard to achieve a long term solution for them, for the region and for the wider UK steel industry.”

He further said: “Whilst we can’t change the status of the global steel market, we can and are playing a positive role in securing a sustainable future.”

The government said the measures imposed in January on reinforcing steel bar imports are starting to have effect as imports during the months declined 99 per cent from January 2015.

Tata Steel, which operates UK’s biggest steel plant at Port Talbot in south Wales, is losing 1 million pounds (USD 1.4 million) a day in its UK operations.

Tatas had entered the British steel sector, which once dominated the British economy, in early 2007 with acquisition of Anglo-Dutch steelmaker Corus after a fiercely fought takeover battle – which till date remains the biggest ever overseas acquisition by an Indian group.–PTI

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