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Report: Tata Steel mothballing, not closing, UK electrical steel plant

Tata Steel Ltd. is mothballing, instead of closing, its Orb Electrical Steels unit in Newport, South Wales, U.K., as the steelmaker seeks a new buyer for the operation, BBC News reported Dec. 11.

Tata Steel had flagged the shutdown of the unit, which has been loss-making for several years, with the potential for up to 380 job losses.

Workers at the site will be moved to other parts of the business, including Port Talbot, according to the report. A spokesperson said mothballing the plant ensures that it is properly maintained.

Sources cited in the report said Liberty Steel and Arkansas-headquartered Big River Steel LLC are eyeing the Orb Electrical Steels unit.

Liberty Steel, which is operating a nearby plant through Liberty Steel Newport Ltd., is said to be interested in operating the troubled plant if it acquires it. Big River Steel is interested in using the site, but only with a different entity operating the plant.

In November, Tata Steel flagged the dismissal of 1,600 workers in the Netherlands and another 1,000 in the U.K. as part of a plan to boost its financial performance and shift toward carbon-neutral steelmaking.