Tata Steel says may shut Teesside plant

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The Independent Online

India's Tata Steel, the world's sixth-largest steelmaker, said its Corus unit might have to mothball its Teesside Cast Products plant, which would lead to large job losses, after a contract was cancelled.

Tata said the decision became unavoidable because of the termination of a contract by four international steel slab buyers.

The consortium of Italian steelmaker Marcegaglia, South Korea's Dongkuk Steel, Alvory SA and Duferco Participations Holding signed the agreement in 2004.

"We regret the distress their action will cause TCP's dedicated employees, who have worked steadfastly in the interests of the consortium," Corus chief executive Kirby Adams said in a statement.

The Teesside plant employs 1,920 employees and the company has started talks with them to mitigate the impact of any mothballing, which it said could lead to very significant redundancies.

In January, Marcegaglia and Dongkuk had agreed to buy an 80 per cent stake in the Teesside unit.

Corus said it was using all legal means to ensure the offtake agreement was enforced, and would also explore alternative options to secure a viable future for the employees.