Sanjeev Gupta's Tata Steel takeover 'disappointment'

27th November 2017

Sanjeev Gupta's Tata Steel takeover 'disappointment'

By Brian Meechan

BBC Wales business correspondent

 

The boss of Liberty Steel has revealed how close he came to buying Tata's Port Talbot plant – the biggest steelworks in the UK.  Green Bay followed Sanjeev Gupta, for more than a year as he bought up parts of an industry in crisis.  Mr Gupta told of the disappointment when he realised Tata was not looking to sell Port Talbot but look to merge with German firm ThyssenKrupp.

 

"We were one hair's breadth away from doing it," he said. "But it did allow us to break out of our shell and reach for the stars.

"I did not believe it was not going to happen. I am a natural born optimist and I thought there must be a way. Even when it stopped, I lived in hope that it would happen. That's how I got over it but it was quite disappointing.”

His wife, Nicola, also opened up about the tremendous pressure she feels is on her husband as the "saviour of the steel industry" and the impact his business life has on him and the family.

 

"It puts a lot of pressure on him to perform miracles, which is not what he's trying to do," she said.

Mr Gupta took over a steelworks in Newport, putting workers on half-pay and allowing them not to come in and take other jobs, waiting for the moment when he could reopen the site as Liberty Steel.  It reopened on the day the then-prime minister, David Cameron, was holding a crisis summit on the UK steel industry.  This was in a perfect storm of high energy costs, high business rates and cheap imports from China.  When Tata put its entire UK operations up for sale, including Port Talbot, Mr Gupta emerged as an unlikely buyer.

 

 

Man Of Steel: Sanjeev Gupta BBC One Wales Tuesday 28 November at 10.40pm and on the BBC iPlayer.

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