International Steel Mills

Tata UK Bidders Include China’s Hebei

Written by Sandy Williams

Seven bidders are known to be in the running for Tata’s UK steel business. According to media reports the last bidder to be identified was Endless, a UK turnaround specialist.

The other bidders include Liberty House, Greybull, the Excaliber management buyout led by Port Talbot Chief Stuart Wilkie, and JSW Steel.

Bloomberg reported that China’s Hebei Iron & Steel Group was also a contender for the Tata mill, a controversial potential buyer.

Port Talbot region MP Stephen Kinnock said, “Selling to a Chinese group would be a little bit like putting Dracula in charge of the blood bank. There would be serious questions asked about the strategic intent of a Chinese state owned or backed buyer.”

“We know the agenda with China dumping steel is to create a global monopoly and selling Tata’s UK operations to such a buyer could be a strategic mistake,” added Kinnock.

China steel exports and production overcapacity has been blamed for the steel crisis in the UK as well as in steel sectors around the world.

Tata Steel said the seven potential bidders have progressed to the next stage of the sales process. Bids were accepted only from those who wished to purchase the entire steel operation. A few other interested parties, said Tata, have been given more time to produce more detailed proposals.

Gareth Stace, director of the industry association UK Steel, said the decision to move forward on bids for the operation as a whole was a good sign for the UK Steel industry. “It shows there is a long-term and sustainable future for all parts of the business.”

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