Tata Steel says it is continuing negotiations with the UK government to obtain support for Port Talbot, but declined to comment on details. This follows media reports that the steelmaker has ended negotiations with the UK government to obtain funding of around £ 500 million ($ 655 million) under the Birch Project.
A Tata Steel spokesperson says: “We are continuing our ongoing constructive negotiations with the UK government on potential support areas. Since these discussions have not led to a conclusion, it would be premature to comment on any options that may or may not be considered. At the same time, we will not respond to speculative and inaccurate media reports about the future of our operations in the UK or other countries. ”
Media reports said the UK government had ended negotiations with Tata as it concluded the steel company had sufficient funding and was not eligible for taxpayer support.
Celsa UK reportedly received a £ 30m government loan last month, while Tata Steel was expected to receive a much larger amount ( see Kallanish passim ). It was reported that in exchange for a government loan, the government required steel mills to invest in further cuts in CO2 emissions.
Tata Steel Europe confirmed last month that it is discussing with the UK government several options for the future of its UK operations to address existing structural problems. One of them was the possible replacement of blast furnaces at Port Talbot with electric arc furnaces.
Tata Steel Europe’s June quarter results were affected by the overall weakness in economic activity in Europe. “Spreads are precariously low but are expected to improve in the future,” Tata Steel TV CEO Narendran said last week about Europe.