Liberty Steel restarts UK plant at night to save on energy costs

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FILE PHOTO: Liberty Steel boss Sanjeev Gupta stands outside steel pressing mill in Dalzell after completing its purchase, Scotland, Britain
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By Eric Onstad

LONDON (Reuters) - Liberty Steel has restarted production at a British plant, running overnight when energy costs are cheaper, the group owned by commodities tycoon Sanjeev Gupta said on Thursday.

A lobby group for Britain's steel industry warned this month that plants could be forced to shut if they did not receive help to cope with soaring energy prices.

Liberty, part of Gupta's family-owned conglomerate GFG Alliance, said in a statement that an electric arc furnace plant at Rotherham in Yorkshire in northern England aimed to soon reach 50,000 tonnes of output per month.

"Operations at Rotherham... are scheduled to run between 11pm and 6am when energy costs will be comparatively lower," a statement said.

A speciality steel operation nearby in Stocksbridge was also restarting "focused" production for key customers, it added.

Both operations have been largely suspended since March, when GFG's main lender Greensill Capital collapsed.

GFG Alliance, which has been scrambling to refinance its global web of operations, said on Oct. 10 that it had agreed a debt restructuring deal with Credit Suisse for its Australian steel and coal mining assets.

GFG also said at the time it would inject 50 million pounds to restart Rotherham.

(Reporting by Eric Onstad; editing by Jason Neely, Kirsten Donovan)

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