GEORGETOWN, SC (WMBF) -- Liberty House, a British metals, industrials and energy group, announced on Monday that it has completed its acquisition of Georgetown steelworks from ArcelorMittal.
The company says it plans to resume production in spring of 2018. In a release, the company says it will initially rehire 125 former employees in Georgetown, then plans to double that number of employees.
The press release in full states:
Liberty House, part of the global metals, industrials and energy group, the GFG Alliance, today 18th December, announced that it has completed the purchase of Georgetown steelworks in South Carolina from ArcelorMittal; the first in a series of strategic North American acquisitions and new projects targeted by the group founded and run by British industrialist, Sanjeev Gupta.
The 600,000 sq ft plant which includes a 540,000-tonne-a-year electric arc furnace and 680,000-tonne-a-year rod mill serving the construction and automotive markets, is planned to re-start melting and rolling in Spring 2018 as the first step in GFG's ambitious investment plans for the American steel industry.
The company is already in discussions regarding the acquisition of other major US steel assets and new greenfield projects, which it expects to announce in the coming year.
Liberty House, will initially re-hire 125 former employees at Georgetown and then build the workforce to 250 in the medium-term. The group is targeting a major share of the US market for home-produced wire rod, demand for which is projected to grow substantially during 2018.
Completion of the Georgetown deal follows successful negotiations between Liberty and several key stakeholders including the United Steelworkers of America union, Georgetown Council and the South Carolina State Government over the past few months.
The steelworks was a pivotal part of the state's industrial infrastructure for nearly 70 years until it was shuttered in 2015. Liberty House now aims to restore it to its former position of prominence and bring hundreds of skilled jobs back to the plant and to the local and state economy.
Under an agreement with the United Steelworkers, the company expects key roles on the furnace, casters and rolling mill to be filled by experienced former employees of the plant and it is also in discussion with Georgetown Council about training programs to prepare a new generation of workers for the industry.
Sanjeev Gupta, executive chairman of the GFG Alliance said: "Securing the Georgetown furnace and mill is a major milestone for us, marking our first major step in the USA. The melting and rolling facilities here give us a formidable entry to the American market and provide a strong platform for expansion. We see major prospects for the metals industry here and we want to apply the same GREENSTEEL sustainable strategy to our American plants as we are already delivering in the UK and Australia. We're grateful for the support we've have from the council, the state government and the union, and we look forward to rebuilding the business and bringing quality industrial employment back to the site and to the local and regional supply chain.
"We've already had customers contacting us about placing orders, so we're keen to get back up and running as quickly as possible," he added.
John Brett, president and CEO of ArcelorMittal USA, said: "Throughout the process, ArcelorMittal has been steadfast in our goal of maintaining the Georgetown steelmaking operation to preserve jobs and maximize the value of the property for our shareholders. While bittersweet for ArcelorMittal, we are hopeful that today's announcement is a celebration for Liberty Steel and GFG Alliance, the United Steelworkers and the Georgetown community. We appreciate the patience of all of our stakeholders while we finalized this important transaction."