The Welsh Government says it is 'cautiously optimistic' about the future of a Tata steel plant in Llanelli, amid reports it could be sold.

Tata may face having to sell the plant in Trostre following concerns they would have too large of a share of the steel packaging market with their planned merger with German firm Thyssenkrupp

There are 650 staff employed at the site.

Speaking in the Senedd, Ken Skates, Minister for Economy and Transport, insisted the Welsh Government would ensure that any sale would secure the long term-future of the plant:

Trostre is still a profitable site and that the Welsh Government has been instrumental in supporting the 650 steelworkers at the facility.

Ken Skates AM

Lee Waters, the AM for Llanelli said the deal with the German firm would only go through if the Trostre plant could be spun off as a ''viable business able to compete with the new merged company''.

Unite Wales represents the majority of the workforce at the Trostre site and has raised concerns about 'grave consequences' for Welsh steel jobs.

Trostre’s future viability is very much linked to the other Welsh plants, in particular Port Talbot. If Trostre is outside of the joint venture, question marks arise not only over its own future, but also over that of Port Talbot. Welsh steel workers jobs must not be used as collateral in order to get the Tata-Thyssenkrupp joint venture over the line. We will be holding urgent discussions with TATA over the coming weeks to ensure Welsh steel jobs are protected. Our Welsh operations must remain central to the future strategic direction of the joint venture.

Tony Brady, Unite National Officer For Steel

Tata and Thyssenkrupp merger

In September 2017, Tata Steel unveiled plans for a merger of their European steel operations Thyssenkrupp to create the second biggest steel firm in Europe.

Talks started in 2016 after Tata decided not to sell its UK steel business.

The deal ended years of uncertainty over the future of plants including Port Talbot and Shotton on Deeside.

Read more: Tata Steel confirm Thyssenkrupp merger plans