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Tata looks to sell

Tata Steel wants to split its operations in the Netherlands and the UK. It is talking to Swedish steel firm SSAB about selling the Dutch operation and is looking to make the UK businesses self-sustaining.

Facilities in the Netherlands up for grabs include the works at Ijmuiden, northwest of Amsterdam. SSAB said: ‘Discussions with Tata are ongoing but no decisions have been made. There can be no certainty that any transaction will materialise, nor as to the terms of any such potential transaction.’

The move has alarmed politicians and trades unions in the UK, notably in Wales. Half of the UK workforce of 8 000 is at the Port Talbot facility and Wales’ economy minister Ken Skates called the news ‘extremely worrying’.

Tata says it wants the UK and Netherlands businesses to pursue ‘separate strategic paths’ in the future.

‘Tata Steel continues its dialogue with the UK government on potential measures to safeguard the long-term future of Tata Steel UK and is also reviewing all options to make the business self-sustaining without the need for any funding support from Tata Steel India in the future.

Steel industry analyst Kathryn Ringwald-Wildman told the BBC she was not surprised by Tata’s announcement. ‘The company has made no secret of the fact it’s wanted to offload the European side of the business. Previous negotiations have fallen through and we’ve had the pandemic which has depressed the market.’

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