Indian steel giant Tata will kick off the formal sales process of the its UK business on Monday its been announced by business secretary Sajid Javid following emergency talks in India.
Javid hailed the meeting as "constructive and positive". He yesterday held meetings with steel unions and the only party that's publicly expressed interest in Tata's Port Talbot steelworks, Liberty Steel.
He did however say a number of parties had come forward.
Javid made the announcement in a series of Tweets.
Met with Tata Steel in India today. I'm determined to do all I can to secure a long-term viable future for UK #steel & workers 1/3
— Sajid Javid (@sajidjavid) April 6, 2016
Constructive & positive meeting. Formal sales process will begin by Monday - govt will do all it can to help secure a serious buyer 2/3— Sajid Javid (@sajidjavid) April 6, 2016
No set time frame. Tata Steel will allow a reasonable period to find a buyer 3/3— Sajid Javid (@sajidjavid) April 6, 2016
Earlier it was revealed losses at Tata Steel's UK business are supposedly half the £1m that has been reported since the India steel conglomerate announced it would put the business up for sale, potentially making it a more attractive deal to potential buyers.
The £1m number was first reported in Autumn of last year and if it has shrunk by 50 per cent it could give weight to management claims the business can be turned around.
Liberty House's Sanjeev Gupta has suggested in various interviews he would be interested in overhauling Port Talbots blast furnace to melt down and recycle scrap metal though has said it would be dependent on a deal with the government on taxes, including the carbon tax.
Following today's meeting in India, Javid phoned the general secretary of steelworkers union Community, Roy Rickhuss.
I am encouraged to learn that Tata have committed to be a responsible seller and to allow the time we need to secure a new commercial operator. This is a credit to the campaign our members have run over the past week. Community, the steelworkers' union, has already begun working with independent experts to map out a plan for our steel industry.