Reports claim British government have opened talks with potential buyers for Tata Steel’s UK operations, including Sanjeev Gupta’s commodities company Liberty Group, as it stepped up its battle to find a buyer for the loss-making business.
Prime Minister David Cameron also met ministers to discuss the options for a business which employs 15,000 people.
Britain’s business minister Sajid Javid met with Gupta in London to establish how firm his interest was in the business. He was later due to fly to Mumbai to meet Tata Chairman Cyrus Mistry to agree the process for a sale.
Gupta, who has bought other distressed steel assets in Britain, said the meeting was “positive” and the government was “highly supportive” and “actively engaged” in finding a long-term solution.
“The next step is for Tata to define the formal sales process and request indications of interest from potential buyers,” he said in a statement after the meeting.
The government has not said which other potential buyers it has met but Javid told Sky News “where the buyers are coming forward, we’re ready to work with them.”
Gupta’s Liberty Group is a metals company with assets in Asia, Africa and Britain, and production capacity in steel exceeding 3 million MT a year.