Metals group Liberty House will submit a letter of intent to buy the British assets of Tata Steel Ltd on Tuesday, a spokeswoman said, in the first concrete bid since the Indian conglomerate put the business up for sale, threatening thousands of jobs.
India’s Tata group announced plans to sell its entire UK steel operation in March, leaving the government battling to save an industry that has been hurt by cheap Chinese imports, soaring costs and weak demand.
Keen to avoid the loss of 10,000 jobs, the government has offered hundreds of millions of pounds in support to potential buyers, including the option of it taking a 25% stake in the firm alongside other buyers.
Liberty’s executive chairman Sanjeev Gupta had been the first businessman to express an interest in Tata’s loss-making assets which include the huge Port Talbot steel plant in Wales, and on Tuesday the firm said it would submit a bid.
“We can confirm that Liberty will submit a letter of intent to Tata Steel today and has put in place a strong internal transaction steering committee and panel of leading external advisers to take the bid forward,” the spokeswoman said.
“We hope to make a further short statement later today.”
Another group to emerge as potential buyers has come from Port Talbot itself where a management team have appointed advisers to work on a buyout plan.
The group, Excalibur Steel UK, has named Tata’s UK strip products director Stuart Wilkie as chief executive, according to a Companies House filing.