LONDON Liberty Steel has expanded its investment in the troubled UK steel sector by buying a second UK-based plant, though it warned on Friday it could move the asset overseas if it does not get energy security in Britain.
The private company, part of Liberty Group, also said its steel plant in Newport, Wales, which began operations last October, had already turned a profit, and is on course to produce 600,000 tonnes of hot rolled coil this year.
Sanjeev Gupta, executive chairman of parent company Liberty Group, said his hope was to move the new asset to Wales, in order to expand steelmaking there to some 2 million tonnes and boost the 170-strong workforce by another 1,000 people.
Energy cost and security concerns could, however, push Liberty to move the asset, and the 1,000 or so new jobs and 3,000 indirect jobs, it would require, to India.
Although the infrastructure of a steel plant cannot be moved, the technical equipment can be.
"This energy intensive industry policy brings cost down a bit but not enough," he said.
"If we had a cheap long-term energy source like tidal lagoon or if we are able to convert our power plant to biomass in the short term, that would give us energy security."
(Reporting by Maytaal Angel, editing by David Evans and Susan Thomas)
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