Tata Steel to ask for half a billion pounds government loan after slump in orders, ITV Wales understands

Port Talbot steel plant, Tata, is seeking a loan from the UK and Welsh governments in the region of £500m after global orders slumped because of coronavirus, ITV Cymru Wales understands.

The Indian firm employs around 4,000 people at its Port Talbot site and is one of Wales' most important employers.

It has been reported that money would be in the form of a commercial loan that would be repayable once demand for steel recovers.

In a statement, a Tata spokesperson said "We continue to work with both the UK and Welsh governments to identify what support is available."

Earlier in April, Tata Steel said "a sudden drop in European steel demand after a number of steel-using manufacturers paused production, including European car manufacturers" had prompted it to slash production at some of its mills.

Credit: PA Images

On its website the company added: "The business is focused on preserving cash and liquidity to tide over the challenging period".

"The situation is under continuous review and the management is prepared to take swift actions depending on the trading conditions", the firm said.

In June 2018, a 50:50 merger deal between Tata and German firm Thyssenkrupp was expected to secure jobs and lead to investment but fell through.

The Welsh Government spokesperson said: “We continue to have ongoing discussions with Tata Steel about what support it needs to sustain a strong steel making presence in the UK and in Wales.”

A UK Government spokesperson said: “The UK Government has put together a far-reaching package of support to help businesses through the coronavirus pandemic.

“We continue to regularly engage with businesses across all sectors, including those in the steel industry.”