Indian steel giant Tata Steel on Thursday said it has reached an agreement to sell two of its facilities to the Scottish government that would keep the factories open, in a rare glimmer of hope for Britain’s ailing industry.
The deal involves the sale of its Clydebridge and Dalzell steel facilities to the Scottish Government which would then sell them on to Liberty House, Tata Steel said in a statement.
The Gupta family, which owns metals company Liberty House Group, will take responsibility for reopening, operating and investing in the two sites as part of its wider strategy to build an integrated and sustainable steel business across the UK.
Tata Steel, which last year restarted a steel rolling facility in Wales, is set to acquire the plate mills in Motherwell and Cambuslang, south of Glasgow.
Tata Steel in October last year said it would mothball the two facilities, which have roots dating back about 130 years, with the loss of 270 jobs.
Rather than closing the facilities, Tata Steel has continued to maintain them to enable plate production to potentially restart in the future, the statement said.
Business minister Fergus Ewing said: "When Tata Steel mothballed the Dalzell and Clydebridge plants, I said we would leave no stone unturned in the quest to find an alternative buyer.
"That is why we established a Scottish steel taskforce and why I am delighted that our support for the steel industry has paid off," he said.
The taskforce was established to secure jobs and the future of steel manufacturing in Scotland after Tata announced 1,200 UK job losses in October
Bimlendra Jha, Executive Chairman of Tata Steel’s Long Products Europe business, said: "We welcome this deal which opens the possibility of a resumption of steel processing in Scotland."
"This has been achieved with the determination and support of employees, trade unions and the Scottish Government all working together," Jha said.
The Dalzell plate mill transforms a semi-finished steel slab into a steel plate, while the Clydebridge facility processes steel plate using a quench and tempering technique.
Today’s agreement secures the two Scottish plants while Tata Steel continues to negotiate the potential sale of the rest of its Long Products Europe business to Greybull Capital.