Liberty Steel resumes production at Rotherham

Liberty Steel has resumed partial production at its Rotherham plant following a period of intermittent operations since 12 March, a company spokesperson tells Kallanish.

The firm says it has “also agreed a few manufacturing campaigns in other units, including the Stocksbridge furnace, and the Stocksbridge, Thrybergh and Brinsworth rolling mills”. This indicates that these units are currently idle and also plan to restart production soon. The spokesperson declined to confirm this, however.

“We are grateful for the support from our customers and suppliers in enabling the restart and in supporting our self-help measures such as matching our current stock to customer orders, and working with customers to achieve terms that will bring in cash earlier,” Liberty Steel says.

The group continues to work on securing additional working capital to replace the funding gap left by the collapse of major lender Greensill Capital, and is making use of the UK furlough scheme.

Sanjeev Gupta, the executive chairman and chief executive of Liberty parent GFG Alliance, said earlier the group has received substantial interest from sources looking to refinance its debt, which is in the “many billions”. He also explained the group is in talks over a formal standstill agreement with Greensill’s administrators.

GFG said it would “vigorously” defend any legal action against Liberty Steel following the filing by Credit Suisse of an application through Citigroup in the UK insolvency court to wind up Liberty Commodities Ltd.

UK business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said the UK government wants to see what new financing GFG can arrange before taking any action to support its UK plants. But officials are prepared to let Liberty Steel collapse into administration before stepping in.

Adam Smith Germany