International industrial and metals group, Liberty House, has formally reopened Tredegar steelworks in South Wales, shut down a year ago when its former owners Caparo Steel Products went into administration.
Liberty is resuming the production of steel structural hollow sections and tubes at the plant in Tredegar with support from the Welsh Government in a move that it said will create around 70 new jobs directly and “many more” in the supply chain.
On a visit to Tredegar to mark the launch of the business first minister Carwyn Jones, who was accompanied by Liberty’s executive chairman, Sanjeev Gupta, described it as a great boost for the area and for the steel industry in Wales.
The site, which includes a 100,000 tonnes a year rolling mill, was one of a number of former Caparo Steel Products sites acquired by Liberty from the administrators in late 2015. Liberty is investing £3.7 million in refurbishing and updating the facility, which is backed by £600,000 business finance from the Welsh government to help secure the project for Wales. The plant will be part of Liberty’s ‘GREENSTEEL’ business model that will ultimately involve making steel from recycled material using renewable energy sources.
This is the latest in a succession of steel and engineering businesses acquired by Liberty across the UK and it comes a year since the company re-opened the hot strip mill at Newport, which had been mothballed by previous owners. The Newport site will supply hot rolled coil as raw material to the Tredegar plant.
In total, Liberty said its acquisitions and investments have saved more than 1,500 British jobs directly and thousands more in the supply chain.
The first minister said: “We are doing everything in our power to support the steel industry in Wales, which is vital for the sustainable future of our manufacturing industry.
“The reopening of the Valley’s steelworks is good news for our steel industry. Liberty has a proven track record within the steel sector and is one of a few companies expanding in today’s challenging climate. This is another strong commitment from Liberty and I welcome their plans to modernise the site and employ former staff, retaining local skills.”
Sanjeev Gupta, executive chairman of Liberty House, said: “The reopening of Tredegar is very good news for our economy because it will be replacing imports with home-made product and creating sustainable skilled jobs here in Wales. We are very grateful for the enthusiastic support of the Welsh Government who have shown themselves to be solidly behind the steel industry, particularly during these difficult times.
“The steel industry globally continues to face severe challenges. The sharp rise in raw material prices means that margins for producers are worse than ever and we foresee challenging times ahead. However, the UK is a mature market with customers demanding sophisticated products and exemplary service. We have the skills and capability here to serve our home market with high quality products on a competitive basis provided we can operate on a level playing field against our international competitors. Liberty is proving this time and again.
The launch of Liberty Steel Tredegar is part of of Liberty’s continued drive to establish an “integrated and competitive steel business” in Wales and the wider UK.
Gupta added: “Steel is a foundation industry upon which much of UK industry rests. It is critical future of the British economy and nowhere more so than here in Wales.”