Liberty House to bid for bankrupt Essar project in the US

British metals group Liberty House, which this week agreed to buy Arcelor Mittal's Georgetown Steelworks plant, is in the race to buy the former Essar project in Nashwauk in the US from a bankruptcy court, in order to expand its presence in North America.

Liberty House, founded by Sanjiv Kumar Gupta, is bidding under the GFG Alliance, a group that also includes resources and energy firm SIMEC Group.

GFG Alliance and SIMEC Group are sister companies of Liberty House.

The former Essar project now called Mesabi Metallics Co LLC and Essar Steel Minnesota LLC (ESML), has a 7 million tonnes-a-year unfinished iron ore pellet plant in Nashwauk and also includes 2 billion tonnes of iron ore deposits.

Essar had invested around $1.8 billion into the Nashwauk project over several years but walked away from it in late 2015 due to shortage of cash even after having taken over $1 billion in debt from a consortium of Indian banks to fund the project.

ESML filed for Chapter 11 protection in the US in July 2016.

Liberty House specialises in commodities, metals recycling, manufacture of steel, aluminium and engineering products.

It also specialises in buying distressed steel and industrial assets and has acquired assets from Tata Steel Europe, Rio Tinto, car components maker Covpress, and some assets of diversified industrial group Caparo.

The group serves customers in the metals and steel manufacturing industries as well as in automotive, construction, marine, power generation, aerospace, motorsport, yellow goods, agriculture and mining.

Its current turnover is approaching $6.8 billion and it employs over 4,000 people globally.