29/04/2003

1,150 jobs under threat at Corus

Up to 1,150 jobs are under threat in England after steelmaker Corus announced measures to "restore market confidence" in the troubled company.

As part of the rationalisation process, the steelmaking and hot rolling process at Stocksbridge in south Yorkshire will be closed "in due course". Steelmaking in the UK will now be concentrated on three sites – Port Talbot in south Wales, Scunthorpe in north Lincolnshire and Rotherham in south Yorkshire. The finishing facilities at Tipton in the west Midlands will also be relocated to Rotherham.

At the group's AGM today, Chairman Sir Brian Moffat said that the proposals were necessary as concerns continued over the "erosion of the market value of Corus", and the continuing loss-making situation and its medium term refinancing.

It was also announced today that Corus's 2,200 strong workforce in Teesside will no longer produce steel for the UK market. However, in order to avoid Teesside's closure, the group says it will "endeavour to refocus" the site to become a "cash generative" slab and bloom producer for international markets.

As a result of the realignment, Corus will reduce its output to 10.5 million tonnes a year – largely focused on satisfying UK market demand. The board anticipates that the capital expenditure and restructuring cash costs associated with the proposals will not exceed £250 million.

The job losses relating to these initiatives are in addition to those contained in the 2001 restructuring programme and are due to be completed in 2004.

(GMcG)

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