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British Indian Steel Tycoon Submits Bid for French Aluminium Wheel Firm

Sanjeev Gupta

British Indian billionaire Sanjeev Gupta’s Liberty Group has put in a bid for the French aluminium wheels manufacturer, AR Industries. Gupta had earlier brought Europe’s biggest smelter, Aluminium Dunkerque, from Rio Tinto for $500 million.

Gupta’s plans are part of creating a €2 billion business in northern France to produce components for the automotive industry, according to the Financial Times.

His global industrial group, GFG Alliance led by Liberty Group, submitted the bid to the court administrators for AR Industries (ARI) at Chateauroux in the Centre-Val de Loire region of France.

“ARI fits perfectly into our plans for the creation of an integrated value-added business that makes both upstream and downstream operations competitive, sustainable and above all, protects skilled jobs,” said Gupta, according to the Press Trust of India. “France is a hugely important location for us and these investments will enable us to take our visionary and robust GreenSteel and GreenAluminium sustainable production strategy into one of the world’s most important industrial economies.”

Gupta said that the global and European car market will grow beyond the 50 per cent it has in the last decade. Acquiring ARI is “exciting, strategically important and very logical step” for the fast-growing business, he added.

Gupta bought the aluminium wheel manufacturer and the smelter since he believes that in the future vehicles will be made of aluminium, and will be lighter and fuel efficient.

“ARI represents a significant challenge, but I know that, with the skills and commitment of the workforce and the support of customers, plus the track record that GFG and Liberty have shown in this area, we can make this business achieve its true potential,” he said.

The decision for the bid will be out next month.

ARI produces wheels for Renault/Nissan and PSA, and that would work along with Gupta-owned Liberty’s construction of a two-million-wheels-per-annum wheels factory next to its aluminium smelter in Fort William, Scotland. The group is aiming for capturing at least one quarter of the domestic market in the United Kingdom with its Scottish plant.

At ARI, Liberty Group aims to protect all the 400 jobs, something it has done previously in the United Kingdom as well. In the United Kingdom, it has saved 2,500 jobs so far.