Sanjeev Gupta's GFG Alliance more than doubles the size of its workforce with acquisition of Australian steel group Arrium

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GFG Alliance is looking at expanding the steel-making capacity at its new South Australia business (Source: Getty)

A British metals and industrials group has more than doubled the size of its global workforce after acquiring an Australian mining and steel business.

GFG Alliance, chaired by industrialist Sanjeev Gupta, yesterday completed the acquisition of Arrium, an integrated mining, recycling and steel company. The value of the deal has not been disclosed.

GFG Alliance will undertake a 100-day review to finalise a transformation plan for the 6,000-worker strong firm, but has already said it intends to invest up to $1bn (£775m) across the Whyalla steelworks in South Australia to modernise key parts of the plant and expand its steel-making capacity.

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In addition, the GFG Alliance is also exploring further potential investments in Australia, including a new state-of-the-art steel plant of 4-5m tonnes at Whyalla, major port and infrastructure development and complementary mining activities, including iron ore and coking coal, to "ensure raw material supply at stable prices", the group said in a statement. 

Arrium Mining has been renamed SIMEC Mining and OneSteel re-branded as Liberty OneSteel. Arrium was originally spun out of BHP Billiton in 2000. It collapsed into voluntary administration last year.

Gupta rose to prominence in the UK last year when Liberty House, part of GFG Alliance, bid for Tata Steel’s British assets.

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“After a long period of uncertainty, the GFG Alliance and this highly skilled and committed workforce can now work together to be the authors of an exciting new chapter in the Australian steel industry,” Gupta said.

"Today marks the beginning of a hugely promising partnership between Whyalla and GFG Alliance," said Jay Weatherill, premier of South Australia. 

"The vision and strategy that underpins this acquisition means that the livelihoods of thousands of people, who have made great sacrifices along the way, have been secured. South Australia looks forward to seeing Whyalla's steel integrated into GFG's global operations and increasingly competing in the global marketplace."

As well as embarking upon a spree of industrial acquisitions that has included Tata's specialty steels business in the north of England and reviving an old steel mill in Kent, Gupta has also been behind a business-focused bank called Wyelands, which today opened its doors to retail customers. 

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