Short-listed bidders interested in sale of town steel mills

The Tata Steel site in Hartlepool.
The Tata Steel site in Hartlepool.

Shortlisted bidders - who are hoping to buy Tata Steel pipe mills in Hartlepool - have been given access to management meetings.

Tata Steel told how bidders also had access to due diligence, in an update which also included its results for the second quarter of the financial year.

We are continuing to focus on improving our competitive performance in the context of the continuing global supply-demand imbalance which led to steel imports into Europe increasing by a further 11% in the first half of 2016

Hans Fischer

Bosses said the sale processes of Tata Steel UK’s Speciality Steels business and its Hartlepool pipe mills were ongoing and shortlisted bidders had access to both due diligence and management meetings.

It was announced back in July that two of the pipe mills, in Brenda Road, – where 500 people are employed – would be put up for sale, along with the South Yorkshire-based Speciality Steels business.

Hartlepool’s 20-inch Tube Mill is not part of the deal.

The firm says the talks are “ongoing” and so are discussions to find a way forward on pension arrangements.

It said: “Tata Steel UK is deeply engaged with all relevant stakeholders in the UK including the unions, the Pension Trustees and the Pension Regulators to find a structural solution and a way forward with regards to the affordability of the legacy pension scheme liabilities. Discussions are currently ongoing.”

Hans Fischer, managing director and chief executive of Tata Steel in Europe, said the firm was “continuing to focus on improving our competitive performance in the context of the continuing global supply-demand imbalance which led to steel imports into Europe increasing by a further 11% in the first half of 2016.”

Koushik Chatterjee, group executive director (finance and corporate), said there had been significant improvement in the operating performance in Tata Steel Europe compared to the previous year because of the “impact of restructuring of structurally weak businesses and favourable market and currency movements especially in the UK.”

The dumping of cheap Chinese steel was spotlighted during last year as one reason for the problems facing the steel industry in the UK.