Future of Tata Steel in doubt as it looks to shake up operations

Lucy Harley-McKeown
·2-min read
A bus is reflected in a Tata sign outside their offices in London, Britain March 30, 2016. REUTERS/Toby Melville      TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Welsh secretary Simon Hart said that the firm wants to make steel in Wales, “a good place to be starting this debate from.” Photo: REUTERS/Toby Melville TPX

Tata Steel (TATASTEEL.NS) has said it wants to make its UK businesses “self-sustaining” as it sells its Dutch operations.

The steelmaking giant said it is no longer prepared to sustain a loss-making operation, and would look to break up European businesses.

Reports emerged on Saturday that the company is in talks with Swedish rival SSAB over the sale of its dutch businesses. A fact that might throw into doubt the future of the UK’s largest steelworks.

The Indian company employs around 7,000 people in Wales, 4,000 of which work in the Port Talbot plant, while the Ijmuiden plant houses a workforce of 9,000.

The Welsh government has asked onlookers to “resist dealing in speculation” about the future of the plant, but called the decision “extremely worrying.”

Welsh secretary Simon Hart said that the firm wants to make steel in Wales, “a good place to be starting this debate from.”

The Dutch and UK parts of the business merged back in 1999, originally called Koninklijke Hoogovens.

Tata Steel said: “We will undertake a due process and move to the next stages including consultation and due diligence.”

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Stephen Kinnock, MP for Port Talbot’s Aberavon constituency, told BBC Radio Wales that it "puts the spotlight very firmly on the UK government that has to now step up and provide support to the British steel industry."

He also said it was time for a partnership between the country and the government.

He said: "It is about the UK government now stepping up to the plate and saying 'okay, this is a British business, we need it for decarbonisation, for climate change objectives, we need it to build sovereign capacity after Brexit’."

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