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UK unions to meet with Gupta’s Liberty Steel after Greensill insolvency

Mar 8, 2021

By Eric Onstad

LONDON (Reuters) – Trade unions in Britain said they will meet with officials from British tycoon Sanjeev Gupta’s Liberty Steel on Tuesday to seek assurances about jobs after a major financial backer went into administration.

Greensill Capital filed for insolvency on Monday, its administrators said, days after losing investor funding and insurance coverage for its supply chain financing business.

Liberty is part of the GFG Alliance, a conglomerate owned by the family of Gupta and one of the biggest customers of Greensill Capital, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Community trade union said it planned to ask Liberty about the future of the company and job security.

“Sanjeev Gupta needs to tell us exactly what the administration means for Liberty’s UK businesses and how he plans to protect jobs,” a statement said.

“The future of Liberty’s strategic steel assets must be secured and we are ready to work with all stakeholders to find a solution.”

A source at another trade union confirmed that a meeting was set for Tuesday.

GFG declined to comment on the union meeting or on what Greensill Capital’s insolvency means for its business. Last week, it said it had alternative funders to Greensill and that it was generating positive cash flow.

“GFG Alliance has adequate current funds and its plans to bring in fresh capital through refinancing are progressing well,” spokesman Andrew Mitchell told Reuters.

Gupta has amassed a portfolio of assets, mostly in steel and aluminium, by acquiring troubled operations and turning them around.

Liberty says it is the third largest steelmaker in the Britain, with nine sites employing about 3,000 people. In total, around 5,000 people work for GFG Alliance in the UK, according to Mitchell.

(Reporting by Eric Onstad; editing by Carmel Crimmins)

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