Details of a possible management led buyout of Tata UK are set to be revealed today.
Numerous reports emerged late on Tuesday evening of a possible management buyout of Tata’s UK steel operations however, it’s not clear whether a possible buy would be for JUST the Port Talbot site or the wider UK business.
It appears journalists from the main broadcast news companies were briefed on the possible management buyout led by Tata’s Port Talbot Chief Stuart Wilkie however, its is unclear whether Mr Wilkie is looking to buy Port Talbot or the entire Tata UK steel operation.
SKY News reported last night:
‘Managers at Tata’s Port Talbot steelworks have been briefed about a possible management buyout plan, according to Sky sources.
It is understood senior managers at the South Wales plant were called to emergency meetings on Tuesday evening and told about the proposals, which are thought to be led by Tata’s director of strip products in the UK, Stuart Wilkie.
The plan would need the backing from all the under-threat sites in the UK if it is to include them all.’
ITV’s Rupert Evelyn, who appears to have broken the story at around 8.30pm on Tuesday evening, he suggests the buyout centres around Port Talbot.
ITV then published a story on their website on later on Tuesday Evening backing up the claims Port Talbot is the focus of a possible buyout, they say:
‘A potential buyout of the Port Talbot steelworks is to be led by one of its most senior staff.
Stuart Wilkie, Managing Director of Tata Strip Products UK, is heading up a buying team alongside other staff members, ITV News understands.
The bid still requires funding, while Mr Wilkie is looking for private investors as well as government support.’
The BBC however, reported a possible buyout is for ALL Tata’s UK Steel operations, this would include Shotton.
‘Tata’s Port Talbot chief Stuart Wilkie is to launch a management buyout of the company’s operations in the UK.
Tata is selling its entire loss-making UK business and has asked for expressions of interest as part of the sales negotiations process.
Mr Wilkie was one of the main people behind a survival plan which was rejected by the Tata board in India and the UK business was put up for sale.’
Deeside.com had been told by sources close to Tata Shotton that “speculation” started to grow on Monday evening that a buyer is closing in on the plant, of course this was just ‘rumour’ at the time as media reports on Monday also said up 190 investors had been sounded out over a possible takeover.
A Tata spokesperson said: “We are not publicly naming or confirming any potentially interested investors or bidders.”
Mr Wilkie will formally announce his intentions later today.
Community, Unite and GMB concluded a consultative ballot yesterday on temporary changes to terms and conditions, as part of the deal to sell Tata Steel’s Long Products business to Greybull Capital. All unions voted to accept the proposed changes. The ballot, which closed at noon today, involved all members of those unions within long products.
Speaking after the result Unite national officer Harish Patel said:
“Unite recognises that this will have been a difficult decision to take for many, but by agreeing to make these short-term sacrifices members have secured a future for steelmaking in Scunthorpe and the long product division’s other sites.
“Government ministers need to make sure that the sacrifices are not being made in vain by taking decisive action to support the steel industry and allowing steelworkers to compete on a level playing field with their global competitors.
“This means government ministers backing up their warm words with action to compel contractors working on defence and infrastructure projects such as HS2 to use British steel.
“Ministers also need to step up action to tackle the dumping of cheap imports and go further with help on high energy costs, otherwise steelworkers will be left fighting with one hand tied behind their backs.
“We hope that Greybull Capital can now finalise the deal with Tata Steel UK and look forward to working with the company to make sure the new ‘British Steel’ has a bright and successful future.”