Liberty’s fresh start for Scottish steel
Published: 11 April, 2016
A fresh chapter for steelmaking in Scotland begins as senior Liberty House representatives begin work on the re-opening and recovery of the two mothballed plate operations at Dalzell and Clydebridge.
In a ceremony at Dalzell in Motherwell, representatives of outgoing owners, Tata Steel, formally handed over the keys to the two historic plants, and Liberty hoisted their corporate flag at Dalzell to mark the start of a new era in Scottish Steel Industry, which dates back over a century.
Liberty House, a global metals and industrial group, has a track record for rebuilding major steel enterprises. Over the past six months the firm has saved more than 1,200 jobs at steel plants in Wales and the West Midlands, and it now aims to re-establish these Scottish plate operations with a new business model, gradually restoring the jobs lost over recent months. Liberty expects to create around 150 new jobs to get the plants up and running again.
Liberty has a vision for green steel, using renewable energy to melt the readily available supply of scrap in Britain. This vision is counter to the current UK Steel Industry that relies on the import of iron ore and coal from around the world. In the medium term, Liberty wants to create an end-to-end process that starts with the melting of UK recovered scrap steel and continues through the manufacture and distribution of high-quality downstream steel products
Sanjeev Gupta, executive chair of Liberty House, said: “Despite the current anxieties surrounding steel, I believe the sector has a future in the UK and, more particularly, a future here in Scotland. Like in Wales and the West Midlands, where our business model is already at work, steel is very much part of the fabric of Scottish industry and we are confident we have the calibre of people here who will keep it where it belongs, at the heart of the economy.”
Liberty also announced that it has appointed Jon Bolton as chief executive of its new plate division, encompassing Dalzell and Clydebridge, he has also been appointed as a member of the Liberty Steel UK management team. Mr Bolton has spent more than 30 years in the steel industry on both sides of the Atlantic, most of them in senior positions with Tata Steel and its predecessors Corus and British Steel. As director of Tata Steel Europe’s Long Products business, he previously ran the Dalzell and Clydebridge sites as part of a wider remit.