Entrepreneur promises Hartlepool steel mills will be a world force

The new owner of a Hartlepool steel plant has today unveiled ambitions plans for its future.

The Liberty House group bought the 42-inch and 84-inch pipe mills in Brenda Road, previously owned by Tata Steel, in August.

Liberty Steel Hartlepool owner Sanjeev Gupta (centre) with staff of the Hartlepool 42 inch and 84 inch pipe mills

Liberty Steel Hartlepool owner Sanjeev Gupta (centre) with staff of the Hartlepool 42 inch and 84 inch pipe mills

During his first visit to the facility since the acquisition, owner Sanjeev Gupta outlined plans to make the plan into a "world force", create new jobs and get the mills working back to full production.

The mills manufacture pipelines for use in the oil and gas industry but production was hit during last year's steel crisis.

Mr Gupta, executive chairman of Liberty parent company GFG Alliance, said: "The North East has a great steel tradition and this business at Hartlepool has a high-calibre workforce whose skills will enable it to recapture markets across the globe.

"The capacity to manufacture world-class steel pipe will play a hugely important part in the development of our international business so we are very pleased to welcome the team at Hartlepool into the Liberty group."

Mr Gupta was given a tour of the facility and raised a flag bearing the mill's new name Liberty Steel.

Next year, Liberty intends to increase the Hartlepool mills' output fourfold to 80,000 tonnes by employing roughly an extra 100 workers as order books fill up again.

And Mr Gupta said there is potential to take on more people in the future as the company wants the plant to get back to full production of over 300,000 tonnes a year.

James Annal, chief executive of Liberty Pipes Division, said: "We are very encouraged by the number of inquiries we're getting from previous customers and prospective new customers regarding major projects in Europe, North America, the Middle East and Africa.

"We've already begun taking new orders for both standard and project specific pipe and there will be much more to follow."

Among the new jobs to be created in the coming months will be a number of apprentices, including those from Hartlepool College of Further Education.