Hopes of new jobs as steel plant sold

Job hopes as Corus steel plant sold

A steel plant which has been mothballed for the past year has been sold to a firm from Thailand, raising the prospect of hundreds of new jobs.

SSI, Thailand's largest steel maker, finalised an agreement to buy the Corus Teesside Cast Products site in Redcar.

Unions and local politicians welcomed the new announcement from SSI and Tata, which owns the Corus steel company in the UK.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said the deal would help to secure 700 jobs at the plant.

“This deal is very good news for workers at the Teesside plant and the region. I welcome the return of steelmaking to this historic steel site later this year.

"Coming just over a year after the plant was mothballed, it is a tribute to both companies involved - Tata Steel and SSI,” Cable said.

Both parties had worked hard since August to reach a successful outcome on what had been a “complex negotiation”, he said.

“This is a significant inward investment by SSI which will help to sustain the 700 jobs at the plant and create new ones at the site and the wider local economy.”

Unite national officer Paul Reuter said he was “delighted this deal has been put together and it's a testament to the determination of the workforce to save the plant”.

“The successful sale is the result of the unions, Tata, SSI and the local community working together,” Reuter said.

The deal values the business at $469 million.

The acquisition is expected to lead to the creation of more than 800 jobs on top of the existing workforce of 700 at the steel plant, which will be brought back into full operation. The news comes a year after the plant was mothballed in February 2010.

TCP has the second-largest blast furnace in Europe and slab production capacity of 3.5 million tonnes per year.

The production facilities include iron-making facilities, steel-making facilities and the infrastructure and logistics facilities required to support full production.

The announcement follows a memorandum of understanding signed between SSI and Tata in August last year. The transaction is expected to complete in four to six weeks.

Karl-Ulrich Kohler, who heads Tata Steel in Europe, said: “I am very encouraged that after all our efforts we have been able to reach this agreement, which is good news for the highly skilled and dedicated Teesside workforce.”

Tata Steel intended to retain a major presence in Teesside, Kohler said.

“After the successful completion of this transaction, Tata Steel will remain one of the largest private sector employers in the area with more than 1,800 employees.”

SSI president Win Viriyaprapaikit said it was “historic moment for both Teesside and SSI, one that would not have been possible without the local community's passion for steel-making and the help of the UK Government”.

“Owning Teesside Cast Products will enable us to achieve our long-standing ambition of becoming a fully integrated steel producer. This transaction will give us a strong platform for future growth, increase our resilience to industry cycles and give us opportunities to diversify into new markets and products.”

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