Liberty creates 300 steel jobs amid £100m deal

Liberty House said it would create around 300 new steel jobs in South Yorkshire and make multi-million pound investments to secure the future of five sites across the North of England and West Midlands.

The news came as Liberty formally completed the £100 million deal to acquire the speciality steels division of Tata Steel UK, protecting the jobs of 1,700 existing staff at three major sites at Rotherham, Stocksbridge and Brinsworth in South Yorkshire, smaller sites in Bolton, Lancashire and Wednesbury in the West Midlands and two distribution centres in China.

Liberty also announced expansion plans expected to generate an additional 300 production jobs in the business.

The speciality steels business produces a range of high-value steels used in the manufacture of vehicles, aircraft, industrial machinery and equipment for the oil and gas industry.

Liberty said it would invest up to £20 million in new plant and equipment in the first year to boost competitiveness and secure international market leadership for the business, which is being relaunched as Liberty Speciality Steels.

Liberty House executive chairman Sanjeev Gupta said: “The Speciality Steels business is a global leader in its field, with a highly-skilled and well-motivated workforce and we are eager to invest so it can grow and achieve its full potential.

“Today marks a step change for the Liberty House Group because we are taking on strategically important capacity that will drive expansion in the years ahead.

“It will help us achieve our GREENSTEEL vision and facilitate investment in engineering products, thereby reducing the supply-chain gaps in the UK, especially in automotive and aerospace sectors.

“By investing to acquire Speciality Steels we are casting a big vote of confidence in the future of British industry.

“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.”

Liberty Speciality Steels chief executive Jon Bolton said: “Through increased output and improved positions in the UK, North American and EU markets, the business can improve its competitiveness and re-establish itself as a global force in the supply of engineering steels.

“We will be running the business with greater focus and a strong vision and will be capitalising on recent investment in state-of-the-art steel-making facilities to strengthen our position in technically-challenging markets.

“We are aiming to improve capacity utilisation and productivity for the benefit of the whole business. We are also in discussion with the trade unions on how we can work together to facilitate our ambitious growth plans.”

The acquisition will make Liberty one of the largest steel and engineering employers in the UK with more than 4,500 workers.