GFG chairman backs Arrium workforce amid acquisition

The chairman of new Arrium owner, Britain’s GFG Alliance, has reinforced the company’s commitment to the South Australian steel-maker and iron ore miner’s management, staff and unions.

Sanjeev Gupta said the skills of the Arrium workforce and the quality of the firm’s products, combined with the business strategies and synergies with GFG, would provide the basis for “a more secure and successful future”.

GFG’s chairman yesterday met with management and staff at the Whyalla steelworks for the first time since the British company secured a deal to acquire the Arrium business.

Gupta said the unanimous decision of the creditors’ committee puts an end to a period of prolonged uncertainty for the Arrium workforce.

“It allows them to look more confidently to the future as they become a part of our large and multi-skilled alliance of international businesses,” Gupta said.

“In the midst of all of this uncertainty the people in the front line at Arrium stuck firmly to their jobs and that is what has given us this opportunity to build a better future for the business.”

A senior GFG team spent several hours at the1500-employee Whyalla plant discussing strategies for the recovery of the business. This included discussions on renewable energy generation both for the steelworks itself and the South Australia grid.

“We have developed a comprehensive plan that we are confident will secure a long-term future for this operation and the community who depend on it,” Gupta said.

“That includes reducing the cost of iron ore feed, modernisation of key equipment, the installation of clean and cost-effective energy generation capacity, expanding production and creating downstream manufacturing opportunities.

“We are also eager to boost export markets for Arrium products and to capitalise on new links between our Australian steelmaking operations and our rolling mills in the UK.”

GFG emerged as the buyer of Arrium earlier this month despite a Korean consortium being named the preferred bidder for the company.

The Australian Government’s Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) and Arrium’s creditors have since approved the transaction.

GFG expects the deal, which still requires approvals for the transition of workers’ compensation coverage and finalisation of accounting restructure steps, to be completed by the end of August.

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