LONDON Excalibur Steel, a management buyout group interested in purchasing Tata Steel's British steelmaking operations, is considering joining forces with rival bidder Liberty House, The Sunday Times newspaper reported.
Tata (TISC.NS) said in March it wanted to sell its UK steel operation, which has been hit by cheap Chinese imports, rising costs and weak demand. The decision prompted a political scramble to find a buyer that could save the thousands of jobs at stake.
The deadline for final bid submissions is on Monday, with a decision on how to proceed with the sale set to be taken at a meeting of the Tata board in Mumbai on Wednesday. The board is likely to shortlist several bids for further scrutiny.
The Sunday Times said a delegation from Excalibur met Liberty's owner, Sanjeev Gupta, in London on Friday to discuss backing Gupta's long-term plan to replace blast furnaces at Tata's Port Talbot plant in Wales with facilities to process imported slab steel.
Neither Excalibur or Liberty could be immediately reached for comment.
Tata said earlier this month that it had received seven expressions of interest for the assets.
(Reporting by William James; Editing by Keith Weir)
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Updated Date: May 22, 2016 19:00 PM