Liberty House Group, part of the GFG Alliance, has purchased ArcelorMittal’s Georgetown steelworks in South Carolina, USA.
The Georgetown deal, claims Liberty, is the first of a series of strategic North American acquisitions targeted by Sanjeev Gupta who heads up Liberty House.
The plant itself occupies 600,000 sq ft and includes a 540kt/yr electric arc furnace and a 680kt/yr rod rolling mill serving the construction and automotive markets. The plan is to restart melting and rolling in the Spring of 2018.
Liberty Steel has ‘ambitious investment plans’ for the American steel industry, it is claimed.
Over the coming year, Liberty House plans to announce other major US steel acquisitions, including new greenfield projects.
At Georgetown, the plan is to re-hire 125 former employees and build the workforce to 250 over the medium-term. The Georgetown plant was a pivotal part of South Carolina’s industrial infrastructure for 70 years until it was closed down in 2015. Ultimately, the plan is to bring back hundreds of skilled jobs and restore the plant to its former glory.
With demand for wire rod in the USA expected to ‘grow substantially’, Liberty is targeting a major share of the US home-produced wire rod market.
According to Sanjeev Gupta, executive chairman of the GFG Alliance, the acquisition is a major milestone for Liberty House as it represents the company’s first major step in the USA. “The melting and rolling facilities here give us a formidable entry to the American market and provide a strong platform for expansion,” he said, adding that he sees ‘major prospects’ for the metals industry in the USA. “We want to apply the same GREENSTEEL sustainable strategy to our American plants as we are already delivering in the UK and Australia,” Gupta added.
ArcelorMittal USA’s president and CEO, John Brett, commented: “Throughout the process, ArcelorMittal has been steadfast in our goal of maintaining the Georgetown steelmaking operation to preserve jobs and maximise the value of the property for our shareholders.”
Brett said the acquisition was ‘bitter-sweet’ for ArcelorMittal, but hoped that the announcement was a celebration for Liberty and GFG Alliance.
The GFG Alliance of which Liberty House is a part, has a global workforce of around 11,500 people and a turnover in excess of US$10 billion.