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[MUMBAI] Tata Steel has completed restructuring its British operations with the sale of two steel pipe mills in the UK that were put on the block last year.
The Mumbai-based company has entered into a definitive pact with Liberty House Group to sell its 42-inch and 84-inch pipe mills at Hartlepool, employing about 140 people, it said in an exchange filing on Tuesday, without disclosing the financial value. The transaction is expected to be completed in the next few months.
"With this sale, Tata Steel UK will complete its portfolio restructuring to focus on the strip products supply chain linked to Port Talbot," chief executive officer Bimlendra Jha said in the statement.
Tata Steel will retain a 20-inch mill at the same location, investing £1 million (S$1.784 million) in the facility to increase its capacity to make high strength steel tubes, it said.
The move is part of India's most-indebted steelmaker's efforts to cut debt by selling unprofitable assets. The company said last July it was in talks with firms including Thyssenkrupp AG for a possible joint venture for its European business, after putting UK assets, including the Port Talbot plant in South Wales, up for sale.
Faced with opposition from labor unions, Tata Steel in December struck a deal with its unions to continue production at Port Talbot and some other UK sites for at least five years.
While the two mills in the latest pact source steel plates from outside the company, the mill that makes 20-inch steel tubes is supplied with coils from Tata's European steelworks.
The tube mill is part of Tata Steel's supply chain for strip products such as hot-rolled and cold-rolled coils that are used in the automotive, construction and packaging sectors, it said.
Liberty House, led by Sanjeev Gupta of GFG Alliance that earlier this month won a bid to buy the steel and iron ore assets of Australia's Arrium, had earlier purchased Tata Steel's specialty steels business in the UK and some operations in Scotland. Tata Steel has also previously sold its Scunthorpe steelworks in England, as well as mills in Teesside and France to Greybull Capital LLP.