Tata Steel is said to be nearing a sale of its business unit that includes its 150-year-old Scunthorpe plant, with a deal expected to be agreed as early as this week.
The company is understood to have received formal bids from three interested parties, according to the Sunday Telegraph. These include Greybull Capital, the investment firm behind the rescue of Monarch Airlines last year, private equity firm Endless. The third bidder is thought to be an American investment firm.
US industrial tycoon Gary Klesch was also rumoured to be interested in buying the business but talks are thought to have collapsed this summer.
A spokesperson for Tata declined to comment on details of the sale process, saying: “We are still assessing all strategic options for our long-products Europe business.”
The Indian conglomerate has been trying to sell its so-called long products arm since last year amid worsening conditions in the steel industry, battered by a glut in global production record low prices, high energy costs, and the strength of the sterling.
Tata Steel Europe chief executive Karl Koehler said earlier this month that the construction product-making unit has “no future” within the company, reinforcing speculation that it could be shut down should a sale not materialise.
The company has announced 1,200 job losses including 900 at its Scunthorpe plant as part of a restructuring to make the company more attractive to potential buyers. Before the cuts the plant employed some 4,000 people.
Nearly 4,000 jobs across the UK steel industry were lost in October alone - equivalent to about one fifth of the sector's workforce. Of these, 2,000 steel jobs were at SSI’s Redcar plant, which closed in October.