International industrials and metals group Liberty House on Tuesday completed a £100 million deal to acquire the Speciality Steels division of Tata Steel UK and announced the creation of 300 production jobs.
The deal protects 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.
Tata’s Speciality Steels division produces a range of high-value steels used manufacturing vehicles, aircraft, industrial machinery and equipment for the oil and gas industry.
Liberty said it will invest up to £20 million in new plant and equipment in the first year to boost competitiveness and secure international market leadership for the business, which is being relaunched as Liberty Speciality Steels.
The business will substantially increase output at the electric arc furnaces, casting shop and bar mill in Rotherham, with bigger plans across the wider speciality business in the years ahead, a Liberty statement said.
Production from arc furnaces is expected to rise to more than a million tonnes a year and there are plans for the bar mill to roll more than 400,000 tonnes a year. The business plans to grow its position in aerospace markets, using recent capital investments at Stocksbridge and investing in additional capacity and new technology.
Liberty said the acquisition marked a major step forward for its “Greensteel” strategy as it gives the group the largest arc furnace capacity in Britain, a key component in its plan to increase low-carbon steel production based on recycling metal in furnaces powered by renewable energy.
Liberty House executive chairman Sanjeev Gupta 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.
“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."
Jon Bolton, appointed chief executive of Liberty Speciality Steels, explained that the business already has a strong market reputation, thanks to a combination of advanced equipment capability and a skilled workforce.