May 2, 2017 / 9:46 AM / 3 years ago

Liberty House to add 300 new UK steel jobs, invest 20 million pounds

Sanjeev Gupta, executive chairman of Liberty House Group attends the completion of a 330 pound million deal to buy Britain's last remaining Aluminium smelter in Fort William Lochaber Scotland, Britain December 19, 2016. REUTERS/Russell Cheyne

LONDON (Reuters) - Liberty House, the industrial and commodities group that is buying up steel assets around the world, will add 300 UK jobs at the speciality steels business it bought from Tata Steel this year.

The group, which formally completed its 100 million pound purchase on Tuesday, said it would invest 20 million pounds in the business in the first year, and raise production at its electric arc furnaces to more than 1 million tonnes.

The UK steel sector is emerging from a crisis that saw some 5,000 jobs or a fifth of the workforce, axed in 2015/16. Privately-owned Liberty House is one of the largest steel and engineering employers in the UK with over 4,500 workers.

“We are casting a big vote of confidence in the future of British industry,” Liberty House Executive Chairman Sanjeev Gupta said.

“With the right business model and an innovative approach, the UK steel and engineering sectors can recover and thrive. The government is now pursuing a new post-Brexit industrial strategy and steel must be at the heart of that strategy,” he added.

For every new steel job, around three or four jobs are created in related sectors.

Liberty House’s speciality steels unit includes five sites across north England and the west Midlands, and is one of the world’s biggest suppliers to the aerospace industry, with customers like Rolls-Royce, Boeing and Airbus.

The group, which is considering a partial public listing in London by 2018, said it would explore further downstream investment in engineering firms that use speciality steels in a move that should boost UK manufacturing.

Tata Steel, the UK biggest steelmaker with some 8,500 employees, sold its speciality business to Liberty House as part of a drive to restructure its business. It is currently in talks to merge its UK and European steel assets with those of Germany’s Thyssenkrupp.

Reporting by Maytaal Angel; editing by Susan Thomas

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