Sanjeev Gupta to Invest US$150 MM in Lochaber Smelter

Sanjeev Gupta to Invest US$150 MM in Lochaber Smelter

Scotland’s historic Lochaber smelter is soon to be the recipient of a much-needed infusion of cash from Liberty House’s boss Sanjeev Gupta.

The metals tycoon has pledged a US$150 million investment to the smelter, which, in addition to converting the plant to production of aluminium wheels, is expected to safeguard the plant for the foreseeable future.

“We hope this will come to be recognised as the start of a bright new future for Highland industry,” said Gupta. “It puts Lochaber at the heart of our vision for sustainable and integrated local production that can revitalise British manufacturing.”

The investment will occur upon the conclusion of Alcoa’s sale of the plant and associated hydroelectric power plant to Simec, the metals business that belongs to his father. Simec agreed earlier this month to purchase the plant for US$412 million.

Liberty and Simec said that the plant will be part of an overarching strategy for developing a sustainable metals and engineering sector in the United Kingdom. Liberty already has a respectable presence in the country’s manufacturing sector – the firm is a significant supplier to the UK’s automotive industry, with a client list including Jaguar Land Rover.

In addition to saving 170 jobs at the plant, the investment is expected to add another 300 jobs to the plant. According to Gupta’s estimates, the investment could yield up to two thousand new jobs in the supply chain and add US$1.2 billion to the area’s economy over the next decade.

This is not the first time Gupta has purchased distressed assets. He previously purchased a significant portion of Tata’s steel production in the UK and Caparo plc’s engineering operations when it was put into administration last fall.