Global steel giant ArcelorMittal remains in the running for Liberty Steel's key French activities, Liberty's troubled parent group GFG Alliance said, despite news of a provisional deal with Germany's Saarstahl. The French Treasury had announced Thursday that an agreement in principle has been signed between Liberty and Saarstahl for the purchase of France's Ascoval steelworks and Hayange rail plant.
"Liberty Steel Group has presented ... a number of options to secure the future of Liberty Steel France (LSF), which incorporates Liberty Ascoval and Liberty Rail Hayange," a GFG spokesman told AFP via email late on Thursday.
"Although we are keen to keep LSF within the group we have also identified two credible buyers, in ArcelorMittal and Saarstahl, who will be able to build on our ambitions for the business."
Liberty Steel is undergoing a drastic restructuring to offload assets following the collapse of GFG's controversial financier Greensill earlier this year.
"LSF's main stakeholders will now decide the best way to ensure the plants' employees, customers and other stakeholders can have confidence in the sustainable future of the businesses," the GFG spokesman said.
He added, "Both businesses have faced a significant reduction in working capital support since the collapse of Greensill Capital and we have worked hard over the last few months to secure new financing and explore sale options for them."
GFG Alliance, owned by Indian-British billionaire Sanjeev Gupta, had been Greensill's biggest customer at the time of the finance giant's collapse in March.
Greensill Capital, which bypassed strict regulations forced upon traditional banks, specialised in short-term corporate loans via a complex and opaque business model that ultimately sparked its implosion.
The affair also shone a light on Gupta's own criticised business practices, with the UK government describing the GFG structure as "very opaque" after declining to rescue it.