WHEN British entrepreneur Sanjeev Gupta bought the financially distressed OneSteel business from its administrators in 2017, it was a shot in the arm for South Autralia's Whyalla steelworks, and the Newcastle mills that roll about half of its steel.
No price was confirmed by the administrators, Korda Mentha, but the estimates were about $700 million.
In a statement on Friday, the operator of the mills, InfraBuild, announced it had "recently acquired" the 100-hectare Mayfield site with direct access to 1.8 kilometres of Hunter River deepwater frontage.
IN THE NEWS:
The statement made no mention of a seller or a price, but the Newcastle Herald can confirm InfraBuild bought the land from KordaMentha for $40 million with the deal approved by the Foreign Investment Review Board.
Mr Gupta has made headlines around the world as a controversial deal-maker.
One of four sons of an Indian industrialist, he has built his GFG Alliance into a global business that claims revenues of $US20 billion ($27 billion) a year, employing 35,000 people in 30 countries.
After starting a commodities trading business, Mr Gupta bought his first steel plant in 2009 in South Africa, acquiring various steel, aluminium and power companies ever since.
InfraBuild is a subsidiary of Liberty Steel, which in turn is an arm of GFG Alliance.
Mr Gupta's business was shaken earlier this year with the collapse of Greensill Capital, the "supply chain" financier that had been the source of much of Mr Gupta's funding.
Mr Gupta has repeatedly said the profitable Australian steel business is separately financed, and an InfraBuild spokesperson reconfirmed this on Saturday.
The spokesperson said Mayfield housed the rod and wire mills, slag processing, the national distribution centre and other facilities.
The sale, for $40 million, is in KordaMentha's latest report to creditors.
A KordaMentha spokesperson said the bid from GFG Alliance was the higher of two offers made last year.
In its statement, Infrabuild said owning the site would "help InfraBuild create an enduring competitive advantage and reaffirms our commitment to the local community and key contributor to the local economy".
"With 100 years of continuous operation, InfraBuild is Australia's leading vertically integrated steel recycling, manufacturing, and distribution business, providing sustainable steel and steel products for commercial and residential construction, large scale and nation-building infrastructure, primary producers and rural sectors," the company said.
But not all of the former OneSteel land - which was originally BHP land - is owned by Infrabuild.
The Herald reported in 2015 that Arrium had sold "about 40 hectares" of its 140-hectare site on leaseback for 12 years to Brisbane's Sentinel Property Trust for $31 million.
At the time, the site housed "Metalcentre, AusTube Mills (formerly Tubemakers), Contistretch and Moly Cop Ropes".
Sentinel said on Friday it still owned the 71 Industrial Drive site, and 10.2 hectares nearby at 51 Industrial Drive - vacant land opposite Vine Street, Mayfield - bought for $3.5 million in 2019.
Mr Gupta said from London on Thursday night that Whyalla and his Tahmoor underground coal mine were doing well on strong commodity prices.
In a statement, GFG Alliance said its recently formed "restructuring and transformation committee" had worked closely with Liberty Steel Group and its stakeholders globally to develop new business plans and restructure the business.
"It is encouraging that discussions with creditors continue to progress well and our global restructuring plans continue to develop," GFG Alliance said.
"In many cases, refinancing options have been oversubscribed.
Our core markets in steel, aluminium, and iron ore are performing beyond expectations, bolstered by high demand and record prices.
This in turn has led to our core assets achieving strong financial results."
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content: