History of Liberty House Group.

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History of Sanjeev Gupta's Liberty House Group History of Liberty House Group

Liberty House is a international industrial and metals group that delivers across the value chain - from metals trading and recycling, through to liquid steel, downstream steel products and services and value added engineering solutions.

The timeline below covers the history of the firm.

  • 1992: Liberty House Group established.
  • 2000: Business involvement grows in in commodity trading.
  • 2007: Dubai office opens.
  • 2010: Singapore office established.
  • 2012: Liberty unveils new Hong Kong office.
  • 2013: Liberty acquires MIR Steel Newport, a two million tonne / year steelworks.
  • 2015: Liberty Steel Newport recommences steel production.
  • 2015: Liberty purchases steel assets from Caparo Industries Plc.
  • 2016: Liberty purchases EAF, caster and rolling mills of former Sheerness Steel.
  • 2016: Liberty signs agreement to acquire Tata Steel plate plants in Scotland.
  • 2016: Liberty reopens Dalzell Steel Mill.
  • 2016: Liberty launches Liberty Metal Recycling (UK, Europe & USA focus).
  • 2016: Liberty reopens structural hollow sections mill in Tredegar, South Wales.
  • 2016: Liberty opens new office in Shanghai.
  • 2016: Buys hydro-power and aluminium smelting operation at Lochaber.
  • 2016: Purchases Lochaber smelter & other assets from Rio Tinto Alcan.
  • 2017: Acquires CovPress, a vehicle pressings and assemblies manufacturer.
  • 2017: Acquires Tata Speciality Steels businesses from Tata.
  • 2017: Liberty acquires 100% of the share capital of Caparo Merchant Bar.
  • 2017: Agrees to purchase Hartlepool mills from Tata Steel UK.
  • 2017: Acquires OneSteel - leading Australian manufacturer of steel long products.
  • 2018: Agrees to buy Dunkerque aluminium smelter from Rio Tinto for $500m.
  • 2018: Completes purchase of Georgetown Steel in USA from ArcelorMittal.
  • 2018: Gets creditor approvals for acquisition of India's Adhunik Metaliks.
  • 2018: GAM - a Swiss Liberty financier - reported to be in difficulty.
  • 2018: Plans announced for purchase of several European ArcelorMittal plants.
  • 2018: Acquires US-based steel wire firm Keystone Consolidated Industries.
  • 2018: Signals interest in acquisition of Stemcor.
  • 2019: Sanjeev Gupta eyes expansion into copper production.
  • 2019: Gupta acquires Belgian aluminium plant.
  • 2019: Liberty Group buys idled MBQ producer Bayou Steel.
  • 2020: Announces 355 job cuts in UK steelmaking plants.
  • 2020: Consolidates aluminium businesses into one group.
  • 2020: Completes takeover of Adhunik Metaliks and Zion Steel Ltd in India.
  • 2020: Wyelands Bank under UK regulatory scrutiny over GFG loan issues.
  • 2020: Announces €2 billion 'transformational' investment plan.
  • 2020: Buys former British Steel's French rail business in Hayange, and Ascoval.
  • 2020: Acquires Tasmania-based hydro energy-powered ferroalloy smelters of TEMCO.
  • 2020: Liberty House bids for Thyssenkrupp steel unit.
  • 2020: Takes over the lease of Poland's Huta Czestochowa.
  • 2021: Submits firm bid for ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe but talks abandoned soon after.
  • 2021: Forms joint venture for hydrogen-based steel plant in France.
  • 2021: Brookfield walks away from Gupta loan talks. Greensill goes into administration.
  • 2021: GFG Alliance businesses in Australia face Credit Suisse insolvency push.
  • 2021: Sanjeev Gupta places two French steel plants up for sale.
  • 2021: Serious Fraud Office lauches probe into GFG Alliance - White Oak rescue talks stumble.
  • 2021: Completes acquisition of Polish heavy plate mill Huta Czestochowa in May 2021.
  • 2021: Agrees Ascoval, Hayange sale to Germany's Saarstahl.
  • 2022: HMRC files winding-up petition against speciality steel business in the UK.
  • 2022: Commercial Court in Liege rejects restructuring plan for Liberty's Belgian assets.
  • 2022: UK regulator probes King & King’s audits of Sanjeev Gupta companies.
  • 2022: Sells precision steel tubes business in Oldbury UK to Marcegaglia.
  • 2022: Wins court appeal to restart coating operations in Liege Belgium.
  • 2022: Citibank pursues winding-up order against three GFG Alliance companies in UK.
  • 2023: Announces production cuts at certain UK steel plants, with 440 job cuts.
  • 2023: Wins tender for the purchase of troubled Hungarian steelmaker Dunaferr.
  • 2023: Partners with China's CISDI in Dunaferr decarbonisation project.
  • 2023: Temporarily closes BFs in Galati and Ostrava.
  • 2024: Commences sales process of the Ostrava steel business in Czech Republic.

  • 1992: The GFG Alliance is an international business group associated with the Gupta family. The alliance includes Liberty House (founded by Sanjeev in 1992), SIMEC Group (founded by Parduman Gupta in 1996) as well as Wyelands Bank. SIMEC Group is an energy and natural resources business focused on renewable energy as well as infrastructure and commodities trading.
  • 2013: MIR Steel Newport was later renamed Liberty Steel Newport. This facility produces hot rolled steel coil from imported slab.
  • 2016: Equipment from the disused Sheerness Steel plant included an advanced VAI Fuchs electric arc furnace along with Fuchs ladle furnaces and a Concast four-strand billet caster; as well as bar and rod rolling mills. The capacity of this equipment was approx. 800,000 tonnes of rolled steel product a year. Sheerness Steel itself was opened in 1972 but was sold to new owners because of financial difficulties in 2003, when it was renamed Thamesteel. Thames steel then went into administration in 2012, when its assets were sold to the Saudi Arabian-based Al-Tuwairqi Group.
  • 2016: The two Scottish plate plants acquired by Sanjeev Gupta of Liberty House were the plate mills in Motherwell and Cambuslang, which Tata Steel had intended to mothball.
  • 2016: The Dalzell Steel Mill is a heavy steel plate mill.
  • 2017: Press reports indicated that purchase of the Tata Steel specialty businesses by Sanjeev Gupta was for a consideration of GBP £100 million.
  • 2017: The main output from the Hartlepool mills is submerged arc welded (SAW) pipe. The facilities mainly produce 42-inch and 84-inch pipe.
  • 2017: OneSteel purchase actually involved acquisition of the former Arrium Mining and Arrium Steel businesses, including Australia's leading steel manufacturer and distributor, OneSteel. The acquisition also included some of Australia's leading businesses such as the Australian Reinforcing Company (ARC), Austube Mills and Emrails, and product brands such as Waratah and Cyclone.
  • 2018: Georgetown Steel, based in Georgetown, South Carolina. was founded in 1969 by German industrialist Willy Korf. With up to 1500 employees at its peak, the firm had multiple owners including the government of Kuwait in 1984 and the International Steel Group in 2004. In 2005 Georgetown Steel was bought by Lakshmi Mittal. The mill closed in 2009, and following the Mittal merger with Arcelor it was reopened again in 2011, only to be closed in mid-2015. The facility has a 600,000-sq-ft production plant, with wire rod capacity of ~680000 tonnes.
  • 2018: Adhunik Metaliks is an integrated steel producer located in Chadrihariharpur near Rourkela in Odisha in eastern India. Creditor approvals for the purchase of this business by Liberty House Group's Sanjeev Gupta were obtained in july 2018.
  • 2018: Arcelor Mittal Galati plant in Romania, and ArcelorMittal Nova Hut plant in Ostrava Czech Republic, named as facilities to be purchased around end-2018 by GFG.
  • 2018: Purchase of US steel wire producer Keystone Consolidated Industries from Contran was for a consideration of $320m.
  • 2018: The British industrialist reportedly made an approach to buy Stemcor (one of the largest independent steel traders) in December 2018 - from investors including the US private equity house Apollo.
  • 2019: Press articles in November 2019 reported that Sanjeev Gupta planned to expand his empire by branching out into copper production, possibly through acquisition of a copper smelter in southern Australia.
  • 2019: Press reports in December 2019 indicated that Gupta had agreed to buy Aleris' Duffel facility in Belgium for an undisclosed sum. Duffel produces rolled aluminium products for major automotive producers such as Volkswagen and Porsche.
  • 2019: Liberty made the winning bid to buy bankrupt Louisiana steelmaker Bayou Steel for $28m in December 2019. Bayou Steel in an EAF-based producer of merchant bar quality steel.
  • 2020: UK employment restructuring announced in January 2020 was primarily to involve Liberty's plants in Stocksbridge, Rotherham, Brinsworth and Newport. Stocksbridge however was expected to see the bulk of these lay-offs.
  • 2020: In January 2020, Gupta established the Alvance Aluminium Group which combined all the aluminium businesses within a single entity. These businesses included Europe's largest smelter of the metal in Dunkirk; and the UK's only aluminium smelter in Fort William, Scotland. Alvance is to be positioned as a champion for 'green' aluminium [that is, an aluminium producer that uses renewable sources of energy].
  • 2020: Acquisition by GFG Alliance of Adhunik Metaliks Ltd and of Zion Steel Ltd had been delayed since 2018 by Adhunik-related bankruptcy proceedings in the Indian courts. The purchase price was $60 million (Rs 425 crores).
  • 2020: Investigations by the Financial Times that came to light in February 2020 alleged that funding from Wyelands Bank was inappropriately financing certain GFG Group activities.
  • 2020: According to Sanjeev Gupta, the long-term €2 billion investment plan would create a new champion in European steel, with carbon neutrality by 2030 a notable target. The Group's capital investment plans included the following initiatives (a) At Galati, major upgrades to the continuous casters, rolling mills and coating lines, to improve quality and increase capacity; with installation of an electric arc furnace to dramatically reduce emissions in support of the Group's CN30 ambitions (b) At Ostrava, installation of a hybrid furnace, that would allow switching between and blending of blast furnace- and EAF-based steel making (c) At Liege-Dudelange, investment to improve the quality, performance and output of its galvanised steel products (improving the competitiveness of the business) (d) At Magona, modernisation of the organic coated and galvanised lines to restore long-term profitability (e) At Skopje, upgrades to increase organic coating capacity and to broaden the product portfolio.
  • 2020: Liberty Steel announced the purchase of the Hayange rail plant and of Ascoval in mid-August 2020. The Hayange rail mill in north eastern France [which which was part of British Steel when the business collapsed into insolvency in 2019] produces ~400kt/year of railway track (from semi-finished steel, historically supplied from Scunthorpe). The majority of this rail is sold to SNCF, the French State railway operator. Ascoval is a steelmaking plant that produces continuous cast rounds bars in large diameters (from 180 to 325 mm) in carbon and alloy steel. It also produces forged products. Ascometal's main customers include the seamless tubemaker Vallourec; and Schmolz + Bickenbach, a producer of specialty steel long products.
  • 2020: The Tasmanian Electro Metallurgical Company (TEMCO) facility acquired by Gupta has four submerged electric arc furnaces, including a sinter plant and has the capacity to produce around 150ktpa of high carbon ferromanganese and 120ktpa of silicomanganese.
  • 2020: October 2020 bid to buy the lossmaking steel operations of Germany's Thyssenkrupp was a non-binding indicative offer only. Analysts valued the German group's steel unit at about Euro 1bn at this time. Other observers estimated that a successful bid for ThyssenKrupp's steel assets would propel Sanjeev Gupta's business from annual sales of ~$15 billion to $24 bn, and employment by his group from ~30,000 to ~57,000.
  • 2020: December transaction involving Huta Czestochowa was undertaken through Liberty Steel's subsidiary Corween Investments. Corween plans to participate in the coming months in a tender to buy the Polish plate mill. Meanwhile, the Polish firm will be renamed Liberty Czestochowa.
  • 2021: According to press reports, and in order to sweeten its offer, Liberty's bid for ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe apparently included a guarantee to equal board representation for labour and shareholders under Germany's coal-and steel co-determination system. [In February 2021, Thyssenkrupp AG announced however that it had ended talks on a possible acquisition of the group's steel division by Liberty Steel].
  • 2021: In early 2021, Liberty Steel Group signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Paul Wurth and Stahl-Holding-Saar to set up an industrial-sized hydrogen-based steel-making plant at Dunkerque in France. This facility will incorporate a 2-million-tonne Direct Reduced Iron plant with an integrated 1 GW capacity hydrogen electrolysis production unit, next to GFG's Alvance Aluminium Dunkerque site.
  • 2021: Brookfield ended talks with Sanjeev Gupta in February 2021 over a proposed loan reportedly worth hundreds of millions of US dollars, dealing a blow to the British industrialist's efforts to secure funding beyond his main lender Greensill Capital. [Brookfield Asset Management is an investment group headquartered in Toronto, with some $600 billion in assets under management. The group invests mainly in real estate, renewable power, infrastructure and private equity. Greensill Capital is a London-based group advised by former UK prime minister David Cameron, that specialises in supply chain finance].
  • 2021: Greensill Capital [GFG's main financier] collapsed in March after insurance cover lapses and vital funding sources were frozen. Credit Suisse Group AG then commenced court action in Australia in April 2021 seeking the liquidation of two companies (Onesteel Manufacturing, which operates Whyalla Steel in South Australia; and Tahmoor Coal) owned by Sanjeev Gupta, as part of its push to recoup capital lent to Gupta's metals empire via the failed Greensill Capital.
  • 2021: After failing in an attempt to refinance the business, GFG hired investment bank Rothschild to conduct a sale of the two plants in north-eastern France: Ascoval and Hayange.
  • 2021: In mid-May, the UK Serious Fraud Office launched an investigation into 'suspected fraud, fraudulent trading and money laundering' at the Gupta Family Group Alliance (GFG). Shortly after the SFO announcement was made, White Oak Global Advisors, which had agreed to provide £236m in emergency funding to GFG's Australian steelworks and was in talks to provide a further £200m loan to the UK steel operations, said it would not continue with the refinancing in light of the fraud investigation. [Some hours after making this statement, White Oak backtracked, saying it continued with its efforts to refinance Liberty Primary Metals of Australia, the company through which GFG owns the Whyalla steelworks; and the Tahmoor coking coal operations].
  • 2021: Press reports suggested that the price paid by Liberty Steel for the Huta Czestochowa plate mill was Polish Zloty 190 million [~$51.5 million].
  • 2021: Ascoval produces continuous cast rounds and forged products at a production facility in Saint-Saulve, in France. The firm recently started production of blooms and square billets for a variety of applications, including rail blooms, which are supplied solely to Liberty Rail in Hayange.
  • 2022: Winding-up petition from HMRC was understood to be filed against Liberty Specialty Steels, with plants in Stocksbridge and Rotherham, due to non-payment of taxes. Other press reports published in February 2022 referred to winding up petitions also being issued against Liberty Pipes, Liberty Performance Steels and Liberty Merchant Bar.
  • 2022: Liberty Steel's Belgian assets comprise the Flemalle and Tilleur production sites in Belgium. These plants produce cold-rolled coil, hot-dipped galvanized coil and tinplate. The Tilleur mill can produce 200,000 tonnes per year of cold rolled steel and tin plate, while Flemalle runs two galvanising lines with a capacity of ~950,000 tonnes per year, producing hot- and cold-rolled galvanized steel.
  • 2022: Prior to the May 2022 sale, Marcgegalia had been operating Liberty Precision Tubes Limited (which has a capacity of 80,000 tonnes per year) for two years under a license agreement.
  • 2022: Citibank was granted permission in early June to pursue a winding-up order against three UK=based GFG Alliance companies, including trading arm Liberty Commodities, after a UK judge ruled that pandemic-related insolvency protection measures did not apply. The ruling follows demands for payment issued by Citi in March 2021 and threatens the future of the Rotherham-based specialty steel business in particular.
  • 2023: Non-competitiveness of carbon steel production through the EAF production process route in the UK is blamed on these cuts, which were to impact the Rotherham melt shop in particular.
  • 2023: Liberty bid for Dunaferr was reported at Euro 55 million. The future owner of the Hungarian plant will be Liberty Steel Central Europe.
  • 2023: CISDI is to supply Dunaferr with a state-of-the-art 150 tonne electric arc furnace.
  • 2023: BF #5 in Galati was shut down in late September because of severe weather conditions in the Black Sea and the very low levels of the Danube which hindered raw material deliveries. BF #3 in Ostrava was closed down in late October because of poor steel demand conditions in Europe, and for maintenance purposes.
  • 2024: Liberty failed in H1 2024 to implement its creditor-approved restructuring plan for Ostrava and in mid-2024 filed for a judicial reorganization to ensure further protection from creditors.

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