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Tata Steel Europe on Monday said it had taken forward seven expressions of interest it had received for its entire UK assets to the next stage of the sale process.

Other bidders, who have shown interest only in individual assets, would not be included in the next round, the company said in a statement. The company did not say how many bidders had shown interest in total.

“Tata Steel Europe’s primary intention is to assess expressions of interest for the whole of Tata Steel’s UK business. The seven expressions of interest being immediately taken forward are on this basis," the statement said.

On 30 March, Tata Steel Ltd decided to sell its UK assets to pare losses in its European business. Following this, its European steel subsidiary Tata Steel Europe started the sale process.

Commodity trading tycoon Sanjeev Gupta-led Liberty House and Excalibur Steel UK Ltd were among bidders who had expressed interest in Tata Steel’s UK assets. It is not clear if the two bidders were part of the list of seven shortlisted for the next round of the sale process.

However, a person close to the development said Tata Steel has shortlisted Liberty House’s bid.

Mint could not immediately contact Liberty House for a comment.

“The expressions of interest received have been through a robust initial assessment process with inputs received from the UK Government whose views have been considered by the Board. We believe that the bids being taken forward offer future prospects of sustainability for the UK business as a whole. Whilst the sales process continues, Tata Steel’s business in the UK under the new leadership team continues to focus on the business performance," said Koushik Chatterjee, group executive director (finance and corporate) of Tata Steel.

In April, The Guardian reported that Tata Steel’s Port Talbot plant in Wales and the wider UK business were losing significantly more than £1 million a day. Tata Steel’s combined capacity in the UK is close to seven million tonnes (mt) of the total 13mt of steelmaking capacity the company holds across Europe. The Indian steelmaker acquired these assets as part of its buyout of Corus Group Plc. for $12.9 billion in 2007, in what was then Tata group chairman Ratan Tata’s most ambitious acquisition.

“In the next phase of the sales process... interested parties will be given access to further business information and management team presentations in order for them to rapidly progress their interest to a binding stage," Tata Steel’s European division said in the statement on Monday.

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