ONESTEEL’S Mayfield steel mill has been “stifled” of investment and needs more “love and care”, UK billionaire Sanjeev Gupta says.
In a promising sign for new jobs at the Mayfield steel mill, which only last year had an uncertain future after the collapse of Arrium, Mr Gupta said on Wednesday the site would receive “love and care” under new owner Liberty House, which is part of the GFG Alliance group of companies founded by the Gupta family.
The company finalised the purchase of Arrium last week, ending uncertainty for 950 employees based in the Hunter.
In a meet and greet at the rebranded Liberty OneSteel mill, Mr Gupta said he saw much potential at the site.
He later told the Newcastle Herald he wanted to boost output and market share, and that “automatically” led to more jobs, but declined to put a figure on how many at this stage.
“Whatever it needs, we’ll apply,” Mr Gupta said.
“These are all very profitable businesses that just need a little love and care.”
Mr Gupta has garnered a reputation overseas as a man who is willing to prop up struggling steel operations.
After the purchase of Arrium, which ran the massive Whyalla steelworks in South Australia, the billionaire will reportedly would move to Australia as the handover continues.
He told the Herald he was “very excited” about Newcastle’s future.
“It's got such a huge amount of infrastructure that’s so underutilised,” he said. “It could just grow and grow and grow.”
The billionaire – who has been dubbed the “man of steel” abroad – said over the coming year plans for Liberty OneSteel’s Hunter operations would eventuate.
“That's what we’ll work through in detail, what opportunity there is and what capital it needs,” he said.
Mr Gupta and his family spent many hours meeting the operation’s workforce on Wednesday.
Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter Scot MacDonald was impressed by what he saw, and said if Mr Gupta was prepared to invest in the site, “it could really take off”.