Liberty Steel gears up for immediate restart of Liege mills

Liberty Steel Group said May 19 it has won its appeal against the Liège Enterprise Court’s decision to appoint administrators to Liberty’s Liège plants in Belgium and has pledged an immediate restart of the business.

This is an unprecedented result, as never in Belgium court history has a liquidation order for insufficiency of net assets been overturned, Liberty said in a statement sent to S&P Global Commodity Insights.

To support that restart Liberty will be assisted by a mediator to help it work with the unions to implement the business plan and rebuild the confidence of the workforce.

“We are looking forward to restarting production as soon as possible and working with the mediator, the unions, our employees, suppliers and customers to rebuild the business,” commented Liberty Greensteel EMEA CEO Toker Ozcan.

Liberty Steel Group aims to ramp up production at the Liberty Liège unit to 110,000 mt/month by October.

To this end, it has recently injected new funding into the plants at Flemalle (housing two galvanizing lines) and Tilleur (tin mill), with further support pledged for the future.

The new funding came on top of Eur80 million that GFG Alliance, which groups together Liberty Steel Group and other metals and energy assets owned by magnate Sanjeev Gupta, injected into Liberty Liège since 2019, when GFG acquired Liege plants from ArcelorMittal.

Liberty Steel’s Flemalle steel galvanizing lines in Belgium – part of the Liege unit – have remained at a standstill since December 2021 due to lack of feedstock and the ongoing restructuring process, while production at the 200,000 mt/year tinning line at Tilleur, also part of Liberty Liege, has already been restarted following three months of maintenance work on this line and intermittent disruptions in raw material supplies, as S&P Global reported previously.

Platts’ weekly assessment of the north European hot-dip galvanized coil domestic price totaled Eur1225/mt ($1,297/mt) ex-works on the week of May 16.

— Ekaterina Bouckley