A steel worker on Teesside.
Teesside Steelworks For Sale
Corus has confirmed that it is in advanced stages of discussion on the disposal of its majority stake in Teesside Cast Products. The move comes just five years after a deal was struck to create the company and save the plant from closure.
In March 2003, just two years after cutting around 1,000 jobs at the Teesside works, Corus came within a whisker of closing the site down.
It had announced losses of 458 million pounds and had lost a legal battle with its Dutch Supervisory Board to be allowed to raise money to clear some of its debts by selling off its aluminium business.
Pundits put Teesside top of the "at risk" list.
Instead, in December 2004, the site began a 10 year "sink or swim" programme, whereby the Teesside site, under the name Teesside Cast Products, would still be owned by Corus, but would have to find buyers for its steel itself, on the open market.
The Teesside site is able to produce some of the most sophisticated grades of steel available and that, coupled with a boom in demand from China, did the site well for the first few years, but in late 2008, as the world economy slowed and demand dropped, shifts were cut at Teesside and in January 2009 came 147 job losses and the news that Teesside Steelworks was, once again, under threat.
Teesside has been hit by falling demand.
This time, Corus is looking for a buyer for the plant, when Teesside Cast Products' ten year contract ends in 2014.
Ironically, it is Teesside's "sink or swim" contract with Corus that has shielded it from the majority of the 2,500 UK job cuts and Redcar MP Vera Baird says the sale of the plant could also be good news for the area.
"John Bolton, who runs TCP has made very clear that the proposal to sell TCP off is likely to ensure that jobs stay at least at their current level here on Teesside for the foreseeable future."
A week after the announcement that the works were up for sale, two of the plants long-standing customers, Italian frim Marcegaglia SpA and South Koren steelmakers Dongkuk confirmed their interest in acquiring a majority stake, with Corus will retaining a monitory share in the business.
last updated: 29/01/2009 at 11:04