Liberty eyes other acquisitions if bid for Tata Steel UK fails

Fri Jun 10, 2016 3:50pm EDT
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By Tom Miles

GENEVA (Reuters) - Liberty House Group, which wants to buy the British assets of Tata Steel (TISC.NS: Quote), has its eye on other steel plants in the United States, Africa and India if the Tata deal doesn't happen, Executive Chairman Sanjeev Gupta told Reuters.

Liberty and other companies belonging to the Gupta Family Group (GFG) are looking for acquisitions and GFG plans to list part of its assets to expose itself to the rigorous governance demanded of public companies, Gupta, who is co-owner of the group, said on Friday.

"We are discussing various alternatives but something within the group will be listed within the next 12-18 months," he said. "It’s ambitious but that’s what we’re going to try to do," he said. He did not say where the group planned to list.

GFG companies are particularly interested in turnaround assets, Gupta said.

"Whatever we have bought so far has been cheap and we’ve managed to turn them around," he said.

"Every single one of our peers is out there trying to deleverage, dumping high-quality assets into a market that doesn’t want to buy them," Chief Investment Officer Jay Hambro said.

Liberty is one of a number of companies that have put forward offers to buy Tata Steel's loss-making UK operations and save thousands of jobs in Britain, whose steel industry has been hit by cheap Chinese imports, high energy costs and a global supply glut.

"If it happens then for the short to medium term we would be focused on the UK. But if it doesn’t happen then we have a few options in the U.S., in Africa, again India where we are looking at opportunities," Gupta said, referring specifically to steel plants.   Continued...

Liberty Steel boss Sanjeev Gupta stands outside steel pressing mill in Dalzell, Britain April 8, 2016. REUTERS/Russell Cheyne