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LONDON: Indian-origin metal tycoon Sanjeev Gupta today said he will invest a whopping 120 million pounds in Britain’s last aluminium smelter as part of a deal to rescue the site and safeguard hundreds of jobs.

Gupta’s Liberty House and his father’s related business, Simec, will pay around 330 million pounds to acquire the plant at Lochaber, in the western Scottish Highlands, and two hydro-electric plants that power it.

The group has committed to invest a further 120 million pounds, creating up to 600 jobs in coming years, Gupta said.

“Today is the start of an exciting new chapter in Scotland’s manufacturing story and the Scottish government and its agencies will keep working with Sanjeev Gupta and the GFG Alliance to help them realise their enterprising vision for Lochaber,” said Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Strugeon, during a site visit.

Gupta, in his 40s, is executive chairman of Liberty House Group and of the wider family concern – GFG Alliance – strategic board.

He said: “We hope this day will come to be recognised as the start of a bright new future for Highland industry. It puts Lochaber right at the heart of our vision for sustainable and integrated local production that can revitalise British manufacturing.”

Today’s announcement follows a deal unveiled last month involving Liberty House and Simec to take over the site formerly owned by Rio Tinto in Scotland.

Gupta’s plans include creating an aluminium wheel manufacturing facility with 300 jobs directly and another 300 in the supply chain.

Liberty has also said that it aims to protect the existing 170 jobs at Lochaber and expand metal manufacturing and downstream engineering in the region.

Overall, Liberty House estimates the investment will generate up to 2,000 jobs in the supply chain and add around 1 billion pounds to the local economy in the next decade.

It forms part of the group’s wider strategy for the UK’s steel industry, having taken over large parts of Tata’s British steel operations and previously acquiring much of the Caparo engineering business when the Lord Swraj Paul owned units went into administration.

As well as the smelter and the hydroelectric plants, the latest acquisition includes a 100,000-acre estate which captures rainwater to power the hydro-electric generators.

Liberty has said that under the banner of Liberty British Aluminium it will add value to the production of aluminium by integrating the smelter with a new engineering and downstream manufacturing facility.


Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on Indiatimes Citation Source


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