Tata Steel's European arm Corus on Tuesday said it is open to dialogue for strategic tie-ups with investors having sound financials to rescue its recently mothballed Teesside Cast Products (TCP) plant in England.
"Any meaningful approaches are welcome from potential strategic partners that have the necessary financial capability as well as a long-term requirement for TCP's 3 million tonnes per year of slab output and we will enter into good faith discussions with any such investor," a Corus spokesperson told PTI.
The elected Mayor of Middlesbrough Ray Mallon, last week, announced that a group of investors, including a private equity firm, has made an offer to acquire TCP. When asked about the announcement by the Mayor, the spokesperson said strategic investors were welcome.
"Since the TCP offtake consortium reneged on its 10-year binding contract with Corus in April last year, Corus has continuously sought a long-term future for its TCP business. This is something the company continues to do," the spokesperson said in an e-mailed reply.
Mallon had said a project team has submitted an offer to purchase "recently mothballed TCP plant from Corus".
"The team has been brought together by local (Teesside) entrepreneurs Chris Musgrave and Paul Weavers... it (team) includes a syndicate of investors headed by an established London-based private equity house and is being advised by internationally renowned metallurgy experts Hatch Corporate Finance," Mallon said in a statement issued by his office on March 25.
Going by the statement, the plan for TCP would focus on suppliers and end product buyers being part of the ownership of the plant.
Earlier this month, four leading British trade unions at Corus had joined hands to form the National Trade Union Steel Co-ordinating Committee (NTUSCC) and had given an ultimatum to Corus to find a buyer for TCP and save the livelihoods of 1,600 employees or face "industrial action".
The united body of four trade unions--comprising officers from Community Union, Unite, the GMB and UCATT-- had said if Corus failed to demonstrate the necessary leadership, statesmanship and progress on TCP it will implement alternative plans to safeguard steel making across the UK.
Community Union had stressed, "Community will be forced to consider an industrial solution to the closure of TCP."
In February, Corus had said the decision to mothball TCP was a direct result of the decision in April 2009 by a consortium of customers, responsible for almost 80 per cent of the plant's business, to renege on a binding ten-year contract. "... This is a mothballing, not a permanent closure.
TCP will be kept ready for a restart. Corus remains open to credible offers...," the steel maker had said.