Indian-origin metals tycoon Sanjeev Gupta-owned Liberty Steel has become one of the top steel producers of the world with the acquisition of seven steel making units and five service centres from L.N. Mittal’s ArcelorMittal in Europe for €740 million. Liberty Steel has acquired the major integrated steel works at Ostrava in the Czech Republic and Galaţi in Romania as well as rolling mills at Skopje (North Macedonia), Piombino (Italy), Dudelange (Luxembourg) and two plants near Liege in Belgium. These seven sites employ over 14,000 people. The five service centres which market the products are based in France and Italy.
These operations, with a combined rolling capacity of over 10 million tonne per annum supply steel to multiple sectors across Europe’s industrial heartlands, including construction and infrastructure products, automotive, aerospace, energy, industrial equipment, consumer products and yellow goods. “Liberty Steel today (Monday) completed the acquisition of seven major steelworks and five service centres across seven European countries from ArcelorMittal. The €740 million deal makes Liberty Steel one of the top 10 producers globally, excluding China, with a total rolling capacity in excess of 18 million tonne covering a wide range of finished products," the company, which is part of London-based GFG Alliance, said.
It said this is the largest single transaction undertaken by GFG and brings the Alliance’s worldwide workforce to nearly 30,000 across 30 counties. Liberty Steel said it aims to boost sales from these sites by around 50% over the next three years. Liberty Steel received EU approval to acquire ArcelorMittal assets in April after the European Commission found it was a suitable purchaser and that the deal raised no competition issues. The authorities had been concerned that the deal was 'highly dependent on borrowed money.' But they were convinced by Liberty's offer to contribute a higher level of equity to reduce the debt level. 'These businesses will form a key part of our global steel strategy of building a sustainable steel business, with a fully integrated value chain, from raw materials to high-value finished products', Gupta said.
Acquires Johnstown Wire Technologies in US
Liberty Steel had earlier acquired Johnstown Wire Technologies (JWT), North America’s largest producer of value-added carbon and alloy wire. The company, however, did not provide the financial details of the transaction. The acquisition has helped the company expand its footprint in the US steel downstream products market, Liberty Steel said in a statement. GFG Alliance is a global group of energy, mining, metals, engineering and financial services businesses. The acquisition gives Liberty Steel valuable capacity to manufacture a range of high-value carbon and alloy wire products for infrastructure, automotive, utility and consumer sectors, the statement said.
The manufacturing facility at Johnstown, will complement Liberty Steel’s melting and rolling operations at Georgetown, South Carolina and Peoria, Illinois and, combined with its scrap processing plant in Tampa, Florida, will firmly embed the business along the full value chain in the US steel market.
The 638,000 square foot Johnstown site has been a high-profile steel manufacturing facility for over 100 years and is a top three US producer of the types of steel that will be needed to modernise ageing infrastructure - electro-galvanized, aluminised and spring wire.
Sanjeev Gupta is an international businessman and entrepreneur, heading a global enterprise with activities spanning steel and aluminium production, engineering, power generation, banking, and commodities trading. As Executive Chairman of Liberty House, he leads a fast-growing $6.7 billion global industrial group, headquartered in London, with additional global hubs in Dubai, Singapore and Hong Kong, and further bases in over 30 countries.
Born into a family of industrialists in Punjab, he was educated in the UK and graduated with an MA in Economics and Management from the University of Cambridge. He founded Liberty House in 1992, while still an undergraduate, initially as a general merchant focused on Africa. Over subsequent years the Group grew rapidly to become a global trading and supply chain specialist in steel and non-ferrous metals.
His growing reputation as an industrialist was further boosted by his bold decision to rescue and revive major metals, engineering and power generation operations right across the UK from 2013 onwards, based on the innovative greensteel business model. Through a strategy that defied common perceptions of metal manufacture and engineering as dying industries, he acquired, and successfully relaunched, more than 25 businesses, saving nearly 4,500 jobs and, in the process, helping revitalise the UK supply-chain in key sectors such as automotive and aerospace. As part of this ambitious programme, he has saved Scotland’s last major steelworks, secured the future of Britain’s last remaining aluminium smelter and acquired the UK’s largest electric arc furnace capacity for melting scrap steel. His £330m acquisition of the aluminium smelter and hydro power stations at Fort William in December 2016 also included more than 100,000 acres of land in the Scottish Highlands, making Sanjeev the UK’s fifth largest landowner. Liberty has also become one of Britain’s largest component manufacturers for the automotive sector.
He has since expanded his industrial investment interests to include assets worth hundreds of millions of dollars in the USA, Australia and elsewhere. He continues to grow his trading and industrial operations worldwide, whilst also progressing his greensteel strategy for competitive, low-carbon production based on renewable energy, re-melting of UK scrap steel and downstream engineering integration to make innovative, high-value-added products.
In a further bid to support the development of industry, he has acquired the London-based Tungsten Bank, which has been relaunched under the name of Wyelands Bank Plc as a specialist provider of supply-chain and trade financing for medium-sized enterprises.
In order to progress the energy element of his vision Sanjeev works closely with his father’s energy and commodities company, the SIMEC Group, under the umbrella of the GFG Alliance. In this respect he is a major champion of renewable power development, including hydro, bio-diesel, biomass and waste-to-energy.