Scunthorpe steelworkers who continued delivering profits after their firm’s former parent company went into administration nearly two years ago, were today (October 12th) promised a brighter future as part of their industry’s fastest growing Group.
International metals and industrial entrepreneur, Sanjeev Gupta, told the workers at the newly-renamed Liberty Steel Scunthorpe that their skills would play a pivotal role in the continued growth of the Liberty House Group, which now employs more than 5,500 people in the UK and 6,000 overseas.
Liberty bought the 145-worker plant from administrators in July in order to add its specialist product capability to the range of steels the Group offers the market. As Britain’s largest producer of ‘merchant bar’, the plant manufactures steel bars and light sections used in the construction, energy, oil & gas, shipbuilding, machinery manufacturing and transport sectors.
During a celebration event for employees and industry representatives held at the steelworks today to inaugurate the business as part of the Liberty Group, executive chairman Mr Gupta, praised the resilience of the workforce and pledged a more secure future.
“Despite the uncertainty faced for many months under previous owners, the team here at Scunthorpe continued to perform strongly and maintain the position of the business as UK market leader in its field. We’re proud to welcome this workforce to the Liberty family of companies where they can look forward to greater security and an exciting era of growth,” he said.
He said the plant would benefit from Liberty’s GREENSTEEL strategy, designed to make steel production in the UK more competitive and sustainable through the use of scrap recycling and renewable energy.
The Scunthorpe plant expects to produce around 170,000 tonnes of merchant bar this year, increasing this by around 30% in 2018. The site’s fully-automated production lines have the capacity to make around 300,000 tonnes a year of long products including flat, round and square bar, steel angles, convex bar, beams and crane rail.
Managing director of Liberty Steel Scunthorpe Steve Unwin said: “The skills and state-of-the-art equipment here enabled us to continue delivering and protecting jobs during the long period of uncertainty and we’re confident that we can do even better now as part of the Liberty Group.”
He explained that the plant aims to increase sales figures by working with other Liberty sites to offer customers – particularly those in the construction sector – a combined package containing a range of complementary British-made steels.
The Scunthorpe plant is targeting growth both in the UK market, where it will challenge imported steels, and in overseas markets, including mainland Europe.
Today Sanjeev Gupta also visited Liberty’s 140-worker steel pipe mills at Hartlepool, which the Group bought in August just after it acquired the Scunthorpe plant. The plant produces 42” and 84” steel pipes mainly for the global oil and gas industry.
Over the past two years, the GFG Alliance has acquired numerous metals, engineering and energy assets across the UK and overseas and now has a global workforce in excess of 11,000 people.