Tata Steel has entered talks with other “strategic players in the steel industry”, including German-rival, thyssenkrupp, to explore the feasibility of forming a joint venture for its European business, as an alternative to its sale.
“We have initiated conversations for a strategic collaboration for our European business,” said Koushik Chatterjee, Tata’s Executive Director for Europe, in a press release. “It is too early to give any assurances about the success of these talks.”
Tata had been in discussions with seven potential buyers of its UK business after saying it would sell all or part of it British operations in March. The company employs more than 6000 workers in the UK, including 4000 at Port Talbot in Wales.
But following the uncertainty caused by the UK’s vote to leave the EU and continuing uncertainty over the company’s pension liabilities, Tata said it had decided to look at alternative and “more sustainable portfolio solutions”.
“Success, especially the inclusion of the UK business in the potential joint venture, would depend on several issues including finding a suitable outcome for the British Steel Pension Scheme, successful discussions with the UK trade unions and the delivery of policy initiatives and other support from the Governments of the UK and Wales,” continued Chatterjee. “These are necessary for realising a sustainable business in the UK.
Separately, the company said it was selling its UK speciality steels business in South Yorkshire and its Hartlepool-based pipe mills business.
“Tata Steel UK has already received interest from several bidders for the speciaility steels and the pipe mills in each case and a formal process will be commencing shortly,” Chatterjee said.
Edited by Jonathan Rowland.
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