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Not shortlisted any bidder for sale of UK assets: Tata Steel

business Updated: May 25, 2016 22:23 IST
Tata Steel

One of the blast furnaces of the Tata Steel plant is seen at sunset in Port Talbot, South Wales. (REUTERS FILE)

Tata Steel on Wednesday said it has not reached a decision on shortlisting any of the seven bidders for selling its loss making operations in Britain.

As many as seven bidders have expressed interest to acquire Tata Steel’s British steelworks.

The Tata Group, which had set a deadline of noon on Monday for final bids for its British steel operations, was expected to finalise and shortlist the bidders at its board meeting on Wednesday.

“We haven’t shortlisted any bidder for Tata Steel UK assets,” Tata Steel CFO Koushik Chatterjee told reporters here.

“We are in talks with the British government,” he added.

Indian-origin businessman Sanjeev Gupta owned Liberty House and a management buyout group Excalibur Steel - are believed to be the two front runners for the deal.

Read: Tata Steel confirms seven interested buyers for UK assets

Tata had announced plans in March to sell its loss-making units in UK as a result of a global slump in steel prices due to a glut of exports from China and high energy costs.

Around 11,000 jobs at Port Talbot in Wales and 11 other UK sites hang in the balance.

Besides, Liberty House and Excalibur, family investment fund Greybull Capital, India’s second-biggest steel maker JSW Steel, China’s Hebei Iron and Steel group, US steel giant Nucor and Leeds-based turnaround fund Endless are among those interested to save the works.

Greybull, which is buying Tata’s Scunthorpe steelworks for a token 1 pound, is believed to be keen on a deal for Port Talbot.

However, JSW has distanced itself, saying its interest was “exploratory”.

Read: Encouraging bids for Tata Steel but no guarantees: British PM Cameron

Gupta’s acquisition plan revolves around gradually replacing blast furnaces with electric arc furnace on the site, as part of his company’s GreenSteel strategy.

On Tuesday, UK business secretary Sajid Javid had met Tata Sons chairman Cyrus Mistry to find a solution to save jobs at British operations of the Tatas.

This was the second meeting between Javid and Mistry.

The Tatas had acquired Corus Steel in April 2007 at the peak of commodity price hike cycle for over USD 12 billion, but has since then never been able to turn it around.