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Tata Steel said to seek £60M in government funds to upgrade UK steel plant

Tata Steel Ltd. is seeking funding from the U.K. government to overhaul a production line at its Port Talbot steelworks in Wales, The Sunday Times of London reported Feb. 25.

The steel producer is said to have informally requested financial support from the government for a £60 million project that will help it make lighter steel to be used in automobile manufacturing.

The taxpayer support for the upgrade is crucial to Tata Steel committing to reline an aging blast furnace, the report added, citing industry sources.

Reuters reported earlier this month that the company is planning to conduct repairs at the plant to extend the life of the blast furnace instead of a full relining at the plant, which would cost about £150 million.

The upgrade was expected to extend the life of the blast furnace until about 2026; it was due to finish operations by the end of 2019.

Keeping the two furnaces operational is integral to the survival of the plant, which employs about 4,000 workers, according to the report.