London: Tata Steel has announced the closure of a manufacturing plant in southern Welsh city of Newport.
The steel giant said it has clinched the sale of a Canadian and Swedish plant as part of its worldwide Cogent Electrical Steels division. But despite exploring all options, the company has been unable to find a way forward for the Orb Electrical Steels plant.
“Continuing to fund substantial losses at Orb Electrical Steels is not sustainable at a time when the European steel industry is facing considerable challenges. We saw no prospects of returning the Orb business to profitability in the coming years,” said Henrik Adam, CEO of Tata Steel’s European operations.
“I recognise how difficult this news will be for all those affected, and we will work very hard to support them,” he said in a statement.
The company said its Orb Electrical Steels business in Newcastle has been loss-making for several years as it struggled to compete in the fast-moving market to supply steels used in electricity transformers in which customer requirements have out-stripped the site’s capability.
Converting the site to create steels for future electric vehicle production would cost in excess of 50 million pounds in a highly competitive market where Tata Steel faces higher-volume competitors both in Europe and globally.
The company said it had signed a sales and purchase agreement for Cogent Power Inc (CPI) with Japanese steel giant JFE Shoji Trade Corporation. CPI manufactures cores for electrical distribution transformers and employs nearly 300 people.
Tata Steel has decided to retain Surahammars Bruks AB, which makes advanced steels for electric vehicles and employs around 100 people.
The company is Britain’s largest steelmaker employing more than 8,000 people, manufacturing advanced products for automotive, construction and engineering industries.
Tata Steel has invested about two billion pounds in its British business since acquiring Corus in 2007, including more than 100 million pounds in the last year to support advanced steel manufacturing at a number of sites.