Sanjeev Gupta, a potential buyer of Tata Steel’s British assets, is meeting Britain’s business secretary on Tuesday to discuss his plan to turn around the struggling operations without the loss of thousands of jobs.
Prime Minister David Cameron’s government has said it is working to broker a deal with potential buyers after India’s Tata Steel put its British operations up for sale last week, threatening thousands of jobs.
Mr Gupta, the owner of Liberty House Group which has bought other steel assets in Britain, told BBC radio he believed the business could be saved but said he had not yet carried out due diligence or held talks with the sellers of the business which includes the huge Port Talbot site in Wales.
“Many of them are loss making at the moment but we believe they can be turned around,” said the 44-year-old who is originally from Punjab and was sent to boarding school in the UK at the age of 12.
Mr Cameron’s government has faced criticism over its response to Tata’s decision, a move that has put 15,000 jobs at risk and exposed the government to accusations of failing to protect the industry from high energy costs and cheap Chinese imports.
Mr Gupta said he was looking at the broad concept of the business and believed the majority of it could be saved. He said the blast furnaces were the biggest problem but that staff could be retrained to modify the plant.
Mr Gupta’s entrepreneurial skills were obvious even when in college. According to The Independent, “While still a student in 1992, he set up a commodities trading business called Liberty House from his student halls.” Liberty House is now a $4-billion business, the paper says.