S Kalyana Ramanathan / London February 19, 2010
With just a day away from the scheduled mothballing of the Teesside Cast Products plant (owned by Tata Steel-controlled Corus) in north-east England, the area mayor, Ray Mallon, confirmed that a consortium may be interested in rescuing the plant.
Mallon, however, didn’t reveal the name of the parties that have shown interest. “It is too early to say whether we can save the steelworks, but I believe the consortium is credible,” said Mallon.
In a note to the media, the mayor said he did not want to raise false hopes but he regarded the consortium as credible and called for them to be given every assistance by Tata and the government.
“Coming in the wake of the news that Tata plans to mothball the plant, this may represent our last hope of saving steelmaking in the region. I do not want to raise false hopes and there is a long way to go before any deal is complete. But, this is a deal worth investigating. Both myself and Steve Gibson (a local businessman and chairman of Middlesbrough Football Club) will continue to do all we can to save steel jobs in the area until we are satisfied that no more can be done,” said Mallon.
He further said the consortium had made their approach within the last fortnight with a plan to buy the TCP plant and maintain production.
“I am aware Lord Mandelson (UK Business Secretary) is to visit the area tomorrow (Thursday). I have written to him about this latest development, although I’m sure he will have already been informed and it may be he has further news which he has not yet shared with the public. What is essential is that the government leaves no stone unturned in trying to save this plant,” said Mallon.