HomeIndiaGupta's Liberty to cut UK steel output, vacate sites on high energy...

Gupta’s Liberty to cut UK steel output, vacate sites on high energy costs

Sanjeev Gupta’s Liberty Steel will cut production in the and idle some sites, as soaring energy costs threaten hundreds of jobs across the group.

Steel output at Liberty’s electric arc furnace in Rotherham will be reduced and replaced with imports from abroad. Two of the Liberty’s downstream production units — including a rolling mill in Newport — will be idled, the firm said in a statement Thursday.

As many as 440 jobs could be impacted by the plans, though Liberty will attempt to retain them through its furlough and redeployment program. High energy costs and cheaper imports from abroad are making the production of commodity-grade products uncompetitive, the company said.

The European steel sector was battered by a steep drop in demand last year, which combined with surging energy costs to force many sites to temporarily shut down. The downturn could hardly have come at a worse time for Gupta, who has been trying to agree a deal with his biggest creditors.

“We understand this will be a very concerning time for workers and we stand ready to support those who are impacted,” Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s spokesman, Jamie Davies, told reporters on Thursday. “We will continue to work with the steel industry.”

Liberty said it was no longer selling two of its steel sites in the north of England as it focuses on making specialty products for aerospace and energy customers. The plants were put up for sale in May 2021 following the collapse of Greensill Capital, the group’s biggest lender.

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