Johnson on Liberty Steel: we will use the freedom of Brexit to find a solution
By Guy Faulconbridge
LONDON (Reuters) – Liberty Steel owner Sanjeev Gupta on Thursday warned creditors against removing the listing, saying it had generated huge interest from financiers willing to refinance billions of dollars in debt to bankrupt lender Greensill Capital.
Gupta’s GFG Alliance conglomerate has 30,000 employees worldwide, but its Liberty Steel has been rocked by the collapse of Greensill, its main funder who had made “billions” in loans.
Gupta, who started Liberty Steel in 1992 while studying at Cambridge University, said it was natural for lenders to want to protect their position, adding that there had been positive discussions with Grant Thornton, director of Greensill.
“It does not make sense for them or for any of the creditors to destroy jobs, but mostly to destroy value because it is the value that will give them the recovery,” Gupta, 50, told the radio. from the BBC.
“In fact, we have tremendous interest from new financiers who are ready to back us, who are ready to refinance Greensill,” Gupta said, without going into detail.
The steelmaker, who employs 3,000 people across Britain, has asked for an emergency loan of £ 170million ($ 234million) following the Greensill collapse, but Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has gone. said concerned about the “opaque structure” of GFG.
“We believe that if we donated the money there was no guarantee that the money would stay in the UK and protect UK jobs,” Kwarteng said on Tuesday.
Gupta said he saved thousands of jobs at UK steelworks and, when asked about government concerns, said a key issue was that Greensill had the security of many Liberty assets.
“I’m not waiting for anyone to come to the rescue – we’ll help ourselves, but of course any help from everyone is always welcome,” he said. “Our UK business, given the current situation, could benefit from more working capital.”
Gupta said he used Greensill because he was buying distressed assets for which traditional capital was not available. He said his company owed Greensill “several billion” pounds.
He said his global operations were profitable overall and that he would support his UK business.
“None of our steel plants under my supervision will be closed,” he said.
Asked about former UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s work with Greensill Capital, Gupta said he had not had any interaction with Cameron.
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(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; editing by William Schomberg and Jason Neely)