Tata Steel – sales decision delayed until July
The future of Shotton steel is no closer to being decided as reports say Tata will delay making a final decision on the future of its UK steel operations until July.
The Financial Times report the Mumbai headquarted company is expected to unveil a short-list of preferred bidders as soon as today, Friday June 10.
However, the decision on a winning bid was to have been taken at the company’s monthly board meeting on June 24, the day after the EU referendum, this appears to have been pushed back to July.
“Circumstances have changed, which means we have to re-evaluate the decision to divest — though that decision could still go either way,” a source told the FT
Timescales certainly marry what we have been told from within Shotton where staff are not expecting any announcement from the company this side of the EU referendum vote.
Despite noise over the last week or so that Tata may remain in the UK with support from the UK Government, they are still weighing up the merits of the seven bids submitted as part of the original sales process launched last month.
Tata are coming under increased scrutiny over its sales process as it looks to court both those parties interested in buying its UK steel operation and gain financial support from the Government to assist it with retaining its UK plants.
One of the bidders told the FT that there was “confusion” and growing doubts that the sales process had not been genuine.
There was a “growing feeling that Tata are playing everyone for a fool”, he told the FT.
One Shotton insider told us they would prefer to see Tata stay in the UK and retain Shotton however, there is worry about how pensions would be affected.
A consultation has been launched on the British Steel Pension Scheme with 130,000 scheme members across the country, including people in Deeside being asked to contribute.
On Thursday evening Wales First Minster Carwyn Jones, in his first keynote speech on the EU referendum, warned of the impact leaving the EU would have in securing the future of steelmaking in Wales, he said:
“Leaving the EU would jeopardise the fragile progress we have made toward securing a new owner for the Tata Steel plants at Port Talbot, Shotton, Llanwern and Trostre and endanger the 18,000 jobs dependent on steel in Wales by plunging our economy into years of uncertainty.”