Saturday, May 15, 2010

Prince Charles to visit Corus' beleaguered unit

S Kalyana Ramanathan / London May 16, 2010

Tata Steel-owned Corus will have a special visitor calling on them the coming Wednesday, May 19. Prince Charles, heir to the British throne, will visit the troubled Corus Teesside Cast Products (TCP) plant in Redcar and meet representatives from there.

The prince’s plans to visit TCP was announced as a diary entry in his website. The object of the visit and what he hoped to achieve was unclear. Corus executives could not be reached to clarify the purpose of the visit. The royal family has no role in the running of the government or its various departments.

The prince, however, does take an active interest in various issues that concern the British people and is believed to be in the habit of writing to various government departments. This correspondence is not shared with the public.

Prince Charles is also known for this active interest concerning environmental issues. During his visit to India in March 2006, he launched the Bhumi Vardaan Foundation in Punjab, to promote sustainable agriculture and help ensure a viable way of life on the land. His visit to TCP might just be a courtesy visit to get an idea of the issues faced by the local community in Teesside.

Ever since TCP was mothballed in February, around 1,700 jobs have been put at risk, with another 3,000-odd jobs that indirectly depend on TCP likely to be affected, too. After a consortium of buyers prematurely terminated a 10-year contract in April 2009, Corus said it had no option. The last few months also saw Corus attempting to find a suitable buyer for the plant. Corus recently appointed Citibank to help find a buyer for the plant. The company has admitted that it is in talks with more than one party.

Most recently the plant was visited by a team from Bangkok-based Sahaviriya Steel Industries. The outcome of this visit has not been revealed.

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