Tata Steel has confirmed it is examining the sale of its long products division to the Klesch Group.

The planned disposal of this element of its business which employs 6,500 people in the UK and Europe operating within the construction and excavation sectors, comes as the company seeks to re-focus on other areas of steel production.

Tata presently has employees based across the UK, France and Germany – prompting concerns from trade unions over the future of jobs surrounding any sale.

Headed by US investor Gary Klesch, the Klesch Group, which has its headquarters in Geneva, operates two steel mills in Italy. The company’s managing director has said that it is hoping to capitalise on a “growing demand” for its products.

Karl Koehler, chief executive of Tata Steel’s European operations, claimed that the company “remained committed” to its UK business interests.

He said, “We’ve improved the competitiveness of Tata Steel’s European operations, including long products Europe which now supplies more of the innovative steel rail, rod, plate, sections and special profile products demanded by customers.

“Accelerating the pace of innovation on advanced steel solutions, helping our customers succeed in their markets and creating a sustainable asset base requires significant capital and expertise.

“We have therefore decided to concentrate our resources mainly on our strip products activities, where we have greater cross-European production and technological synergies.”

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