British metals tycoon Gupta buys bankrupt steel plant in India

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FILE PHOTO: A view of the Lochaber Aluminium smelter and hydroelectric site, which is owned by Sanjeev Gupta’s GFG Alliance, at Fort William, Scotland, Britain March 7, 2019. Picture taken March 7 2019. REUTERS/Russell Cheyne

LONDON – British-based tycoon Sanjeev Gupta’s GFG Alliance has bought a bankrupt steel plant in India for $60 million.

GFG has grown rapidly from its roots as a metals trader by spending billions of dollars buying up often troubled metals manufacturing facilities from the US to Europe and Australia.

The privately-held group completed the takeover of Adhunik Metaliks Ltd and Zion Steel Ltd, GFG said in a statement on Tuesday, adding to a string of acquisitions in steel and aluminium in recent years.

The GFG deal has been tangled in court actions since 2018 when Adhunik went into liquidation due to sustained losses. The Indian plant posted a pretax loss of 9 billion Indian rupees ($126.19 million) for the year-ended March 2018, according to a financial statement on its website.

“It has been a challenging journey to get us to this stage, but we now look forward to starting work in partnership with all stakeholders to revive these plants and bring employment back,” Gupta, who is executive chairman of GFG Alliance, said in the statement.

Adhunik’s plant in the eastern Indian state of Odisha, with a coal-fired blast furnace, an electric arc furnace and a power plant, has an annual capacity of 500,000 tonnes of crude steel.

Zion Steel is a rolling mill and the two units together have rolling capacity of 400,000 tonnes a year, making products for the automotive, energy and engineering sectors.

The operations, which are currently shut, will be integrated into GFG’s Liberty Steel Group, which was formed last year and aims to become carbon neutral by 2030.

Liberty Steel, with annual output of 18 million tonnes, is the world’s 17th largest steel producer, based on World Steel Association figures for 2018.

The steel group has operations in 10 countries and 30,000 employees, not including the new Indian operations.

GFG has merged its steel operations in preparation for a potential listing, Gupta told Reuters in October.

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