January 16, 2019 / 12:24 AM / a year ago

Industrialist Gupta's GFG Alliance aims to expand U.S. steel operations

The GFG Alliance flag flies at the completion of a 330 million pound deal to buy Britain's last remaining Aluminium smelter in Fort William Lochaber Scotland, Britain December 19, 2016. REUTERS/Russell Cheyne

(Reuters) - British industrialist Sanjeev Gupta’s GFG Alliance is on the lookout for further acquisitions in the United States to expand its footprint in the Midwest and East Coast, the privately held steel and energy conglomerate said on Wednesday.

GFG is also considering building out steel capacity at its new Keystone Consolidated Industries (KCI) plant in Illinois and restarting a furnace at its Liberty Steel Georgetown plant in South Carolina, it said in a statement.

“There is a growing desire to buy American-made rather than imported steel and we are very well placed ... to serve that rising demand,” executive chairman Gupta said in the statement.

The London headquartered firm has been on a buying spree in recent years, snapping up troubled steel and aluminum assets in Britain, France, India, Australia and the United States, as well as adding banking and financial services businesses.

GFG plans to eventually list its U.S. operations, Gupta has said.

At KCI, which it bought for $320 million in December, GFG is assessing options to boost liquid steel production to 1.1 million tonnes a year from 800,000 tonnes, as well as building a natural gas power plant to cut carbon emissions and energy costs and further boost steel output, it said.

GFG follows a “green metal” model, which recycles scrap metals into specialist steel products with low carbon power.

It is also considering restarting a second furnace at Liberty Steel Georgetown in South Carolina, which could add up to 500,000 tonnes of capacity.

By the end of 2020, Liberty Steel USA aims to produce 5 million tonnes per annum of steel.

Reporting by Melanie Burton; editing by Richard Pullin

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