London: India’s Tatas-owned Corus, Britain’s biggest steel maker, plans to sell a majority stake in a large steel plant on Teesside for about $450 million, securing about 2,000 jobs at the site, media reports said.
According to The Financial Times, the deal should provide more breathing space for the Anglo-Dutch steelmaker as it attempts to implement a difficult restructuring programme necessitated by the worst downturn in the steel industry in more than 60 years.
Under the proposed transaction, a stake of about 75% will be transferred by Corus to an Italian-led partnership of two non-UK steel makers -- Marcegaglia of Italy and Dongkuk of South Korea -- leaving Corus with a stake of about 25%.
The new ownership arrangement in which Marcegaglia would be the senior partner, with an overall stake of 40-45%, would provide much needed cash to bolster Corus’s balance sheet.
Corus this week announced 3,500 redundancies, including 2,500 in the UK.
The 2,000 people who work at Corus’s Teesside plant, near Redcar, are not affected by this week’s cuts. But after Philippe Varin, Corus’s chief executive, made clear that he wanted to reduce its ownership of the plant to a minority stake, they have had a threat of potential redundancy hanging over them, the report said.