Business

Tata says global steel industry 'vulnerable'

Image of Port Talbot plant Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Tata Steel employs more than 4,000 workers at its plant in Port Talbot in Wales

The global steel industry is "very vulnerable" because of a huge oversupply problem, a Tata Steel executive has told the BBC.

Last week, Tata Steel said it was in joint venture talks with Germany's Thyssenkrupp.

Koushik Chatterjee, group executive for Tata Steel in Europe, said Tata was looking at alternatives for its European operations.

In March, Tata Steel said it intended to sell all or part of its UK business.

It employs more than 4,000 workers at its plant in Port Talbot in Wales, and over 2,000 more at its speciality businesses in Hartlepool, Rotherham and Stocksbridge.

On Friday, Tata Steel said the sale of its UK business was on hold as the company considered a European tie-up.

"Today we are looking at more options," Mr Chatterjee told the BBC.

"If there are better options for the business, I think we will go for that, if there aren't we will have to review the current bids that have come in and take a final view."

He said competitiveness would determine whether plants managed to survive, and that dealing with the company's pension liabilities would be important in deciding whether the UK's operations would be part of the business in future.

He added that agreements with the UK and Welsh governments, and with employees, management and the board of Tata Steel in the UK, were key to the future of Port Talbot.

However, Mr Chatterjee warned that the current political uncertainty could be a problem.

"Political uncertainty has its impact, especially if it's regulatory change that we're looking at," he said. "I hope that the situation will lead to a stable formation of the government."

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