International metals and industrial entrepreneur Sanjeev Gupta today pledged to invest €400 million over five years to build Liberty Steel’s newly acquired European steelworks into a major force in the global steel industry. Liberty has set a goal of expanding sales at the plants by 50% by 2022.
Liberty Steel, part of the GFG Alliance, this week officially inaugurated seven steelworks and five major service centres as part of the GFG family. The sites were bought at the beginning of July in a €740 deal that made Liberty one of the top ten steel producers globally, excluding China, with a total rolling capacity in excess of 18 million tonnes.
The steelworks are in Ostrava, Czech Republic; Galati, Romania; Piombino, Italy; Skopje, North Macedonia; Dudelange, Luxembourg and two plants near Liege, Belgium. Taken together, they employ 14,000 people and take the GFG Alliance’s global workforce to nearly 30,000 across 30 countries.
Liberty Steel Continental Europe is building an extensive manufacturing supply chain providing materials and components for industry across western Europe.
The completion of the acquisition triggered the start of a 100-day review during which senior executives from Liberty Steel Continental Europe have been working with local management teams, trade unions, customers and suppliers, to launch a comprehensive analysis of the businesses. This has allowed them to explore investment opportunities and develop detailed plans to boost competitiveness, extend product ranges and support sales growth.
Speaking in Ostrava on a whistlestop tour of the sites, Mr Gupta said: “I’m proud to welcome thousands of skilled and committed staff into the GFG family. Our goal is to build a bright and sustainable future for the European steel industry, which we believe presents a fantastic opportunity.
“As well as being a landmark day for the GFG Alliance, this is the largest British investment in the continental European steel industry for a generation. It underlines our determination to revitalise British industry and to forge a path to prosperity for the 21st century.
Liberty Steel Continental Europe intends to apply elements of GFG Alliance’s GREENSTEEL approach to the sites – including exploring opportunities for renewable energy, and for a reduction in waste.
Jon Bolton, CEO of Liberty Steel Continental Europe, added: “These are well positioned sites in strategic locations with highly skilled workforces. We believe the quality of the facilities, complemented by incremental capital investment, will facilitate the development of the product portfolios. We intend to use these strong foundations to expand into western Europe.”