British-owned Liberty Steel, which recently agreed to buy Galati steelworks in Romania, is set for another major expansion of its steel production capacity in continental Europe following a conditional agreement announced on November 2nd to acquire ArcelorMittal mills in Belgium and Luxembourg from Arcelor Mittal.
Liberty, part of Sanjeev Gupta’s global GFG Alliance, has struck a conditional agreement to buy the Flemalle and Tilleur sites employing a total of 720 people near Liege, Belgium and the 225-worker Dudelange, Luxembourg facility.
This reinforces the Group’s growth plan for Europe following the statement earlier this month , on12th October, that it had reached conditional agreement with ArcelorMittal to acquire the major integrated works at Galati along with Ostrava in the Czech Republic and mills at Skopje in Macedonia and Piombino in Italy. In total these plants employ 12,500 with Galati alone employing around 5,600 people.
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. This 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 aims to retain all jobs across all of the ArcelorMittal sites following completion of the deals and to pursue growth plans for these businesses.
After the signing of the latest deal, executive chairman of the GFG Alliance Sanjeev Gupta said: “These are high quality, landmark assets with skilled and experienced workforces that will add to our strong and growing European network of high-performing steel businesses. We are looking forward to welcoming these sites into the worldwide GFG fold. Our aim will be to develop close working relationships with respective governments, trade unions and other local stakeholders in all of these countries and improve the value of these 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 latest 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.