Tata Steel UK in deal to sell SAW pipe unit to Liberty House

Tata Steel on Tuesday said it has signed definitive agreement with Liberty House Group to sell its Submerged Arc Weld (SAW) mills at Hartlepool in the UK for an undisclosed sum.

The sale agreement covers the 42-inch and 84-inch pipe mills, also known as the Submerged Arc Weld (SAW) mills, where about 140 employees are engaged in the manufacture pipeline for gas and oil projects.

The two mills are fed with steel plate sourced from outside Tata Steel, so the mills are independent of the company's strip products supply chain, the company stated in a rtelease.

Tata Steel will retain its 20-inch tube mill at the same Hartlepool site, where a further 270 people work. The 20-inch mill makes tubes for a range of markets, including construction, infrastructure and machinery. Tata Steel will also be making a £1 million investment to increase its capability to make high-strength steel tubes. The 20-inch mill is supplied with steel coils from Tata Steel's European steelworks and is part of its strip products supply chain.

''As a responsible seller we have worked long and hard to find a sustainable future for the 42- and 84-inch pipe mills. With this sale, Tata Steel UK will complete its portfolio restructuring to focus on the strip products supply chain linked to Port Talbot. The sale is also an important step towards developing a more sustainable future for the rest of our UK business,'' Bimlendra Jha, CEO of Tata Steel UK, said.

Tata Steel said both parties have fast-tracked consultations with employees and trade unions, as well as the transfer of supplier and customer contracts and that the transaction is expected to be completed within the next few months.

Tata Steel had, in February, announced the signing a definitive agreement to sell its Speciality Steel business in the UK to Liberty House Group for 100 million pounds (about Rs840 crore).

''Tata Steel will continue to be the largest steelmaker in the UK following the sale of the 42- and 84-inch pipe mills. It will employ almost 8,500 people in the UK, manufacturing advanced products for sectors like automotive and construction'', the release noted.

Tata Steel has invested more than £1.6 billion in its UK business since acquiring Corus in 2007, including £100 million over the last year to enable advanced steel manufacturing in a number of UK sites.

Tata Steel is one of Europe's leading steel producers, with steelmaking in the UK and Netherlands, and manufacturing plants across Europe. With combined steel making capacity of more than 28 million tonnes and 75,000 employees across five continents, the Tata Steel group is one of the world's largest steel producers.