April 24, 2018 / 1:04 PM / 6 months ago

Liberty House plans to spend $1 billion on India expansion: CEO

LONDON (Reuters) - Metals group Liberty House will invest $1 billion to grow its business in India within the next three years, its chief executive said on Tuesday.

FILE PHOTO: 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/File Photo

“India is a huge market, it’s a sleeping giant. We are very focused on growing our downstream footprint in India,” chief executive Douglas Dawson told Reuters on the sidelines of an aluminum conference in London.

Liberty House Group, which has been snapping up distressed steel and aluminum assets around the world, is currently the preferred bidder for auto component manufacturers Amite Auto India, the company said last month.

Amite Auto supplies major carmakers such as Tata Motors, Maruti Suzuki and Ford.

Liberty House also made a binding offer in January for Rio Tint’s (RIO.AX), ROI.L aluminum smelter in Dunkirk, France, the largest in Europe.

“What we are more focused on is growing our value-add assets,” Dawson said.

Rio Tinto said in a statement at the time that the offer was worth $500 million “subject to final adjustments’ and it expected to complete the sale by the second quarter. [nL8N1P54RP]

In February, Liberty’s owner Sanjeev Gupta said his company had no plans to slow its rapid pace of acquisitions over the coming year and could look to raise capital through debt or equity markets.

Dawson said the company was on track to list its steel assets by the end of the year.

Reporting by Eric Onstad; Editing by Mark Potter

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