Court decision could spell Celsa ownership change

Spanish-headquartered, major European long steelmaker Celsa could be taken over by the investment funds representing its main creditors after the latest court ruling.

The firm has for a long time been at the centre of a court battle in Spain with its main creditors. This week’s verdict from the judge paves the way for the company to be taken over by creditors including Deutsche Bank, SVP, Cross Ocean, Anchorage, Golden Tree, Attestor, Goldman Sachs, Sculptor and Capital Group.

In September 2022, Celsa’s creditors submitted their restructuring plan to the court for the company’s debt of €2.8 billion ($3 billion). The creditors – representing almost the entire jumbo and convertible debt – proposed a new financial scheme which includes investment funds taking over almost the full ownership of the Rubiralta family-owned steelmaker, to extinguish the jumbo debt.

After a year of hearings and debates, the judge sided this week with the restructuring plan proposed by the creditors, confirming that Celsa’s overall value was not greater than the existing debt. In his decision, the judge stipulated that the investment funds will have to work towards preserving and boosting the value of the company as well as preserving jobs.

This court decision cannot be appealed, due to a new law issued last year by the Spanish government, Kallanish notes. It remains unclear, nevertheless, when the decision of the court will be implemented.

The investment funds have already issued statements to the Spanish press pre-announcing changes to the company’s board of directors.

Celsa, on the other hand, has issued an official statement to explain it is studying the sentence of the judge in detail. The company notes that the decision of the judge would give control of a strategic Spanish company to foreign entities, which would need to be approved by the Spanish government. The company also stresses that it maintains the support of all strategic partners – including suppliers, trade unions and local authorities. All these entities, including the Spanish government, expressed their support during the trial towards Celsa’s business continuity, the producer adds.

Celsa was founded in the 1960s as a rolling mill near Barcelona by Francesc Rubiralta Vilaseca. The original site was equipped with an EAF in the 1970s to become a steelmaker. It then started expanding through acquisitions, first in Spain and then abroad, in France, Poland, Norway and the UK. Francesc Rubiralta Rubio, the son of the founder, became chief executive of Celsa Group in 2010 and has been Eurofer president since November 2022.

Emanuele Norsa Italy