Tata Steel Europe said it had received seven expressions of interest for the Indian steelmaker’s British business and that the bids have been taken forward to the net stage of sale process.
It said, additionally the company was clarifying outstanding points with a number of other parties who have submitted an expression of interest.
Tata Steel announced it would sell parts or all of its business in the United Kingdom due to falling profits triggered by several factors, including imports of cheap Chinese steel in the British market.
The statement said it was Tata Steel Europe’s primary intention to assess expressions of interest for the whole of Tata Steel’s UK business. The seven expressions of interest being immediately taken forward are on this basis. Expressions of interest for parts of the UK business are not being taken forward at this point.
“The expressions of interest received have been through a robust initial assessment process with inputs received from the UK Government whose views have been considered by the Board. We believe that the bids being taken forward offer future prospects of sustainability for the UK business as a whole,” Koushik Chatterjee, Group Executive Director (Finance and Corporate) of Tata Steel Limited
In the next phase of the sales process the progressing interested parties will be given access to further business information and management team presentations in order for them to rapidly progress their interest to a binding stage, the statement said.
The statement did not name the bidders, but Indian-origin businessman Sanjeev Gupta’s Liberty House and Excalibur Steel UK Limited, a management buyout (MBO) team of former Tata Steel staff who have the backing of the Welsh government, are seen to be among the frontrunners to acquire the Indian steel giant’s UK assets.
The assets include the Port Talbot steel plant in south Wales, which is the UK’s largest and employs around 4,000 workers as well as sites at Newport, where more than 1,300 people are employed, and Rotherham, which employs 1,200.
British Prime Minister David Cameron said last week that his government was “talking intensively” with Tata Steel and will work with it to create a shortlist of “serious” buyers of the Indian steel giant’s loss making units in the UK.