Tata Steel to acquire Nordic strip products centres

To strengthen its offering to manufacturers in the Nordic region, Europe's second-largest steel producer, Tata Steel, has acquired three service centres in Sweden, Finland and Norway, for an undisclosed sum.

A statement from Tata Steel said it has reached an agreement with steel producer SSAB to buy its strip products service centres at Halmstad in Sweden and Naantali in Finland. The Tata Group company will also acquire the remaining 50 per cent stake it does not already own in Norsk Stål Tynnplater AS from SSAB.

Norsk Stål Tynnplater is another strip products service centre based in Fredrikstad, Norway. About 180 people are employed at the three centres – 50 at Norsk Stål Tynnplater, 70 people at Naantali and 60 at Halmstad, Tata Steel said in a statement.

''Tata Steel's European operations have served customers in the Nordic steel markets for many years. These acquisitions will strengthen our strip products offering to manufacturers in this region. Improving our local processing capability will significantly enhance our product offering and service levels to customers,'' said Karl Koehler, chief executive of Tata Steel in Europe.

''There is a sophisticated and demanding customer base in the Nordic region which increasingly requires advanced steel products. Tata Steel is committed to developing these innovative steel products which give our customers a competitive edge. Just last week, we announced the launch of our 100th new product in our revitalised new product development programme,'' Koehler added.

The three centres process strip products offering services such as cutting-to-length, slitting and recoiling. They supply steel to manufacturers in the automotive, construction and electrical supplies industries, as well as to heavy and light engineering companies.

The European Commission has now approved the sale of these service centres to Tata Steel. SSAB was required to sell them as a condition of its take over of Rautaruukki. The transactions remain subject to approval from competition authorities in Norway, Sweden and Finland, and their implementation will follow these approvals.

Tata Steel is also retaining its 50-per cent stake in Norsk Stål AS. The other 50 per cent of the company is being acquired from SSAB by Leif Hübert Stål AS which, like Norsk Stål, is a Norwegian steel distribution business.