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UK may offer loans to steel plant buyer

International Business
Wed, 13 Apr 2016

London: Britain said it could offer state loans to tempt a private bid for Tata’s loss-making Port Talbot steelworks as Prime Minister David Cameron scrambles to save at least 10,000 jobs thrown into jeopardy by a global steel crisis.

Britain is battling to save a once mighty steel industry after Tata Steel announced it was putting its British steel operations up for sale, citing a surge in cheap Chinese imports, soaring costs and weak demand.

The Indian conglomerate reached a deal to sell one of its plants in northern England on Monday, but Cameron is under pressure from unions and the opposition Labour Party to ensure that Tata’s other British steel assets are sold to save thousands of jobs.

Business Secretary Sajid Javid even opened up the possibility of the state taking a stake in Tata’s flagship Port Talbot plant in south Wales.

“The key point is any investment would have to be on commercial terms,” Javid said. 

“Investment can take a variety of forms – for example it could be debt,” Javid said, adding that it would not be correct to give details of the plans.

A government source said that a government loan as part of a deal with other investors was the “likeliest scenario” for the purchase of the steelworks.

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