Indian-Origin Industrialist Eyes French Steel Businesses, Australian Car Factory

UK-based steel tycoon Sanjeev Gupta plans to bid for assets of two French steel businesses, and Holden manufacturing site in Adelaide.


United Kingdom-based steel tycoon Sanjeev Gupta’s Liberty House Group is planning to make a comprehensive offer for the assets of two flagship French steel businesses, and is also set to bid for the former manufacturing site of General Motors Holden in South Australia.

The offer for the French steel businesses Ascometal and Ascoval, which aims to secure jobs of close to 1,600 employees at six operations across France, will be made in court on Jan. 24.

“The market synergies between Asco Industries and our existing speciality steels business are compelling and we know that, by working together and complementing each other in the market, both businesses will grow and prosper,” Gupta was quoted as saying by PTI.

The move to acquire the steel businesses would help Liberty, which is part of a wider GFG Alliance, implement its GreenSteel and GreenAlumnium strategies in France. The GFG Alliance, owned by the Gupta family, is based in London and has a revenue of over $10 billion and 12,000-strong staff.

“The pro-business policies of the [French President] Macron government make France an exciting and attractive place for industrial investors such as us and we want to be part of the energetic new environment that is emerging,” Gupta said, the report added.

As per the proposal committed to on Dec. 19, Liberty aims to protect the jobs of over 1,500 permanent employees and around 60 apprentices, and wants to pursue a development plan that complements its existing speciality steel business. The proposal details that the company will apply its GreenSteel sustainable production strategy to its French operations by utilizing recycled metal in the manufacture of technically advanced and engineering products.

“We firmly believe that, working together with the Ascometal and Ascoval teams, we can realize our strategy in France and build a globally-recognized manufacturer of speciality steels,” Jon Bolton, the Chief Executive of Liberty Steel UK, said.

The bid for the assets at the Holden factory in Adelaide, which was shut down in October last year, is expected to bring Australia’s car manufacturing industry back to life. “Based on discussions I have had with the GFG Alliance I understand that, should they be the successful bidder, they intend to develop the site as a manufacturing base for an electric vehicle,” South Australia state treasurer Tom Koutsantonis said in a letter to General Motors dated Jan. 17, Reuters reported, adding that GFG Alliance and General Motors Holden declined to comment.

“We believe that the GFG Alliance’s plans would put South Australia at the forefront of the inevitable transition of the Australian market to electric vehicles and ask that all due consideration be given to their bid and the potentially significant benefits to the automotive industry and broader community in South Australia,” the letter says, according to the news agency.

Liberty’s announcements come following a recent statement saying the firm has made a binding offer to acquire Aluminium Dunkerque in France, which is Europe’s largest aluminium smelter.


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