United Kingdom

Sanjeev Gupta cash flow fears threaten jobs of British steel workers

The crisis at Greensill Capital has cast a shadow over the business empire of Sanjeev Gupta – raising fears for thousands of jobs in the steel industry.

Gupta, 50, an Indian-born British tycoon, has been dubbed the 'saviour of UK steel' after buying plants in Rotherham, Stocksbridge, Newport and Hartlepool. 

But he has been heavily reliant on Greensill for funding and the crisis there has left him seeking other sources of finance.

Saviour of UK steel: Sanjeev Gupta has been heavily reliant on Greensill for funding and the crisis there has left him seeking other sources of finance

Talks have broken down between Gupta's GFG Alliance and Canadian asset management giant Brookfield over a loan worth hundreds of millions of pounds. 

Liberty Steel, part of the GFG Alliance, employs 3,000 staff in the UK while another 2,000 work in Gupta's engineering businesses.

Unions warned that jobs could be at risk if Gupta's finances deteriorated.

Community, the UK's steel union, said: 'Liberty Steel UK is a crucial strategic business and we are ready to work with it and the Government to secure the business and protect jobs.'

Harish Patel from Unite told the BBC: 'The latest concerns about the future of Greensill and Sanjeev Gupta's refinancing difficulties are deeply alarming, and Unite will be seeking urgent reassurances about the health of the business units in the UK.'

Gupta has been under scrutiny since his takeover binge that began in 2015 and has left him owning much of what remains of the steel industry in Britain. 

Liberty Steel has delayed publishing a coordinated set of accounts, which were due to be released in late 2020, raising further questions over its finances.

GFG Alliance has around 30,000 employees and Liberty is the world's eighth-largest steel producer. 

GFG said: 'GFG has adequate funding for its current needs and its refinancing plans to broaden its capital base and obtain longer-term funding are progressing well. 

'Our global efficiency drive means that our core businesses are operationally strong.'

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