The current deal to save hundreds of North-East steel jobs will not be derailed by TATA's recent announcement to withdraw from the UK.
Tata Steel recently told The Northern Echo it remains focused on offloading its loss-making Long Products division, which runs plants across the North-East, to an investment group.
The Indian company has been in talks with Greybull Capital for weeks, and an insider last night (Wednesday, March 30) confirmed negotiations are continuing.
However, the future of the firm’s Hartlepool Pipe Mill remains less certain, as the business, which employs about 600 staff, falls outside Long Products and is not included in Greybull’s potential package.
Fears had been raised Tata’s plans to sell its UK assets, blamed on spiralling costs and deteriorating market conditions, could have scuppered the Long Products agreement, striking another blow to the area’s proud steel heritage after Redcar’s SSI UK went into liquidation.
But Tata and Greybull say they remain committed to a deal, though both were reluctant to offer any timescale on an announcement.
It is also understood Greybull has no interest in any other parts of Tata’s UK estate, including its Port Talbot plant.
Any deal with private equity firm Greybull, which rescued holiday airline Monarch and is run by brothers Marc and Nathaniel Meyohas, would see Tata staff move over under a TUPE transfer arrangement, which would initially safeguard workers’ contracts.
Source: The Northern Echo