Liberty appoints restructuring committee, eyes underperforming units solution

Liberty Steel has appointed four new board directors to lead and accelerate its restructuring and refinancing. The appointments represent a step forward in Liberty’s response to the collapse of its principal lender, Greensill Capital, the firm says.

Liberty Primary Steel and Mining Australia agreed on Wednesday terms to refinance its Greensill exposure (see separate Kallanish story). Record steel prices and Liberty’s operational improvement programme have enabled its core businesses to maintain their strong performance since the beginning of the year.

The new appointments will join the Liberty board with immediate effect and form a new Restructuring & Transformation Committee (RTC), which will be led by an independent chief restructuring officer (CRO). It will include an independent chief transformation officer (CTO), a chief governance officer (CGO) and a newly appointed chief financial officer. The RTC will be supported by Liberty management and report to the full Liberty board.

“The RTC will be given full autonomy to restructure Liberty’s operations to focus on core profitable units, and either fix or sell underperforming units,” Liberty Steel says. “This restructuring combined with the continuing strength in steel and iron ore markets will present a solid basis for the future of Liberty.”

The RTC will work to “negotiate an amicable solution with Greensill’s administrators and other stakeholders which protects value and provides the best outcome for all stakeholders”, the firm adds.

Jeffrey Stein, a US-based certified turnaround professional, will be CRO, while London-based Jeff Kabel, chairman emeritus of the International Steel Trade Association (ISTA), will be CTO. Dubai-based Iain Hunter, a former Wyelands Bank chief executive, will be CGO. The new chief financial officer, and also GFG Alliance interim CFO, is Dubai-based Deepak Sogani, former managing director for metals & mining at Essar Capital Services. Current Liberty cfo V Ashok is stepping down at end-May for personal reasons.

Both CRO and CTO roles are independent interim roles brought in for a special purpose to restructure and refinance the group. The roles are paid fees and are not employees of the company.

Adam Smith Germany