International industrials and metals group, Liberty House, has announced it would be creating around 300 new steel jobs in South Yorkshire and making multi-million pound investments to secure the future of five sites across the North of England and West Midlands.
This comes as Liberty formally completed the £100m deal to acquire the Speciality Steels division of Tata Steel UK; protecting the jobs of 1,700 existing staff at three major sites at Rotherham, Stocksbridge and Brinsworth in South Yorkshire,smaller sites in Bolton, Lancashire and Wednesbury in the West Midlands and two distribution centres in China.
It also announced expansion plans expected to generate an additional 300 production jobs in the business.
Speciality Steels produces a range of high-value steels used in the manufacture of vehicles,aircraft, industrial machinery and equipment for the oil and gas industry.
Liberty said it would invest up to £20m in new plant and equipment in the first year alone to boost competitiveness and secure international market leadership for the business, which is being relaunched as Liberty Speciality Steels. The business will increase output substantially at the electric arc furnaces, casting shop and bar mill in Rotherham, with bigger plans across the wider Speciality business in the years ahead.
Production from the arc furnaces is expected to rise to over a million tonnes per annum and there are plans for the bar mill to roll over 400,000 tonnes a year. In addition the business will grow its position in the aerospace markets, utilising recent capital investments at Stocksbridge and investing in additional capacity and new technology.
The acquisition marks a major step forward for Liberty’s GREENSTEEL strategy as it gives the Group the largest arc furnace capacity in the UK, a key component in its plan to increase low-carbon steel production based on recycling metal in furnaces powered by renewable energy. As part of the GREENSTEEL strategy, Liberty’s sister company SIMEC is actively considering investment in bio-diesel power generation at Speciality Steel sites.
The Speciality Steels businesses will also complement Liberty’s engineering operations in the West Midlands which already use steel from these plants to make their precision products. Liberty will explore further downstream investment to make more extensive use of the products from Speciality Steels to boost manufacturing in the UK.
Clive Royston, Community Union: