Liberty Belgium plants receive funding, eye mid-February restart

Liberty Liège’s Flémalle and Tilleur plants are expected to restart by mid-February after the firm received the funding required to carry out the first step of its transformation plan. The funding comes alongside the successful conclusion of a number of commercial negotiations.

The transformation plan is expected to be well advanced by the spring. It includes the tinning line at Tilleur developing a new business model, which will see it build partnerships with major customers to manufacture specialist packaging for their products. Also included is the G5 galvanisation line at Flémalle being used to generate short-term profit, a spokesperson for parent company GFG Alliance tells Kallanish.

Toker Ozcan, chief executive of Liberty Steel GREENSTEEL EMEA, which includes Liberty Liège, says: “We strongly believe this new plan is in the best interests of our employees and our loyal customer base. This will help us to deliver a sustainable business model for Liberty Liège. Now we have the initial funding in place, which demonstrates Liberty’s commitment to the business, we are able to restructure and ramp up the business as soon as possible.”

“We continue to encourage the regional Government to support the delivery of this plan. With the continuing rise in energy prices in Europe, with their impact on cheap imports, we also need the continued commitment of the unions to support the transformation of Liberty Liège, which will make the business more productive, more competitive and better able to compete in the global market,” Ozcan concludes.

GFG Alliance has provided funding exceeding €40 million ($46m) to Liberty Liège since it was acquired in July 2019. However, GFG’s long-term investment plans for the plants were initially undermined by the poor steel market in 2019 before the business was adversely impacted by the pandemic and supply chain disruptions, the group says.

Adam Smith Germany