THE future of the Mayfield steel rolling mills seems once again assured after record steel prices helped British industrialist Sanjeev Gupta restructure the debt on his Australian steel business.
Mr Gupta's businesses GFG Alliance and Liberty Steel made global headlines earlier this year when his main lender, the Greensill Group, collapsed in March.
Gupta companies negotiated with Greensill's main lender, Credit Suisse, and issued a market update on Monday that credited its Australian businesses - including Mayfield and Whyalla steelworks - with "record breaking performances".
GFG Alliance later issued a statement clarifying that the business entity behind the Newcastle steel mills was not part of the debt restructure.
"InfraBuild's Newcastle operations were not part of the recent debt restructuring announced by GFG Alliance," the company said on Tuesday.
"InfraBuild's capital structure does not have any funding facilities with Greensill.
InfraBuild has a standalone capital structure supported by other debt facilities, providing sufficient available liquidity."
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The market update said Liberty Primary Metals Australia had booked profits of $729 million on revenues of $2.52 billion in the year to June 30, compared with profits of $106 million and revenues of $1.96 billion the previous financial year.
Steel prices hit all-time records this year.
Mayfield rolls hundreds of thousands of tonnes a year of Whyalla steel.
Mr Gupta's businesses have been under regular scrutiny because of his heavy reliance on debt and unconventional finance - especially the "supply chain finance" that London-based Australian Lex Greensill brought to prominence.
But the recent surges in steel and iron ore prices have helped drive revenue increases across the otherwise unfashionable steel industry.
Mr Gupta bought the Australian steel business in 2017 from the administrators of collapsed BHP-spinoff Arrium, which got into debt-related difficulties after a period of low prices crushed its rapidly expanded iron ore export business.
He finalised the purchase of the main Mayfield site in August this year.
Commenting on the recovery Mr Gupta said: "Through the hard work and determination of our team, our Australian integrated operations are now profitable and performing the best they have for many years.
"The deal we have agreed today provides a stable financial platform for our Liberty Primary Metals Australia business and secures a recovery plan for Credit Suisse Asset Management and Greensill Bank following the collapse of Greensill Capital.
"I'd like to thank all our stakeholders - government, union representatives, customers, suppliers and of course our employees and the local community - for the support they've shown GFG Alliance as we managed our way through the challenges created by the Greensill collapse."
Referring to his hopes of powering Whyalla steelworks with renewable energy including hydrogen, Mr Gupta said: "I care deeply about this community and remain committed to our long-term vision to transform Whyalla into a modern 'greensteel' hub."
CLARIFICATION: An earlier version of this story included Mayfield in a headline about the dead restructuring.
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