British-owned Liberty, part of Sanjeev Gupta’s global GFG Alliance, is set for another major expansion of its steel production capacity in continental Europe following a conditional agreement announced today 2 November to acquire two Belgian cold rolling steel mills and one in Luxembourg from ArcelorMittal.
The group has struck a conditional agreement to buy the Flemalle and Tilleur sites which employ a total of around 700 people near Liege, Belgium and the circa 300-people Dudelange, Luxembourg facility. The three mills, serving the construction, industrial and automotive markets, have a combined annual manufacturing capacity of 2.1 mtons of cold rolled steel, 2 mtons of galvanised steel, and 200 Ktons of tin plated steel.
The announcement closely follows the statement last month (12th October) that Liberty had reached conditional agreement with ArcelorMittal to acquire major integrated works at Galati in Romania and Ostrava in the Czech Republic, along with mills at Skopje in Macedonia and Piombino in Italy.
Both deals are subject to approval by the European Commission and other local processes including the conclusion of information consultations with local and European Works Councils.
In common with the plants in eastern Europe and Italy, the sites at Liege and Dudelange are profitable assets that will further consolidate Liberty’s growing presence in continental Europe, which already includes the Liberty Wheels France plant at Chateauroux and, following the imminently anticipated completion of its acquisition from Rio Tinto, will also include Europe’s largest aluminium smelter at Dunkerque. Liberty is committed to retaining the jobs across the Liege and Dudelange sites.
Referring to the plants in Belgium and Luxembourg, executive chairman of the GFG Alliance Sanjeev Gupta said: “These are high quality, landmark assets with skilled and experienced workforces that we are looking forward to welcoming into the worldwide GFG fold. Our aim will be to develop close working relationships with respective governments, trade unions and other local stakeholders in Belgium and Luxembourg to optimise and improve the value of these historic assets that are important for the regional and national economies.”
GFG Alliance’s Chief Investment Officer Jay Hambro added: “These plants are an important and logical addition to our expanding, integrated European supply chain. By entering these key markets and expanding our footprint, we’re embedding our European presence and bolstering our competitive position internationally. We’re delighted to be adding these plants to our fleet and to extend our innovative business model based on skill retention, vertical integration and sustainable production to these excellent sites.”
The three sites constitute the second part of a total package of site sales ArcelorMittal agreed with EU competition regulators to clear the way for it to purchase Italian steel giant, Ilva, Europe’s largest producer of flat carbon steel. Liberty has worked closely with ArcelorMittal to prepare a transaction that satisfies the demands of the EU Commission and creates a secure future for these businesses within the GFG Alliance.
Source: Liberty Steel