The boss of Liberty Group has pledged to establish a UK-based holding company for his burgeoning industrial empire after the firm’s £330million buy out of the Rio Tinto aluminium smelting plant in Lochaber.
Sanjeev Gupta’s deal to buy the smelter and hydro-power plant has capped a string of UK acquisitions including the £100million purchase of a steel plant in Yorkshire from Tata, as well as its operations in Motherwell and Clydebank.
Mr Gupta’s complex corporate structure for Liberty Group – which is allied to Simec and the GFG Alliance behind the Rio Tinto deal – is headquartered in London’s Mayfair but is currently registered in Singapore.
Mr Gupta, executive chairman of Liberty, said: “We’re Singapore-registered because we used to be very Asia-focused, we’re going to have a UK-registered topco for the industrials arm soon because most of our business is now in the UK.”
Punjab-born Mr Gupta, 44, founded the Liberty House Group while an undergraduate at the University of Cambridge.
He said British industry was at a “turning point” as it emerged from the European Union following the Brexit vote. Admitting he voted “out” in the referendum, he said: “We are fortunate to be young and ambitious in a time that is a turning point for the industry of our country.
“My view is that by and large Britian is not a place wqhere industry has been encouraged but that is about to change or is changing: look at Brexit and the industrial strategy.
“As a country out of Europe we have to be more self-sufficient and that means stronger industry, making our own steel and products from it.”