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GFG to restart Belgian steel operations after winning appeal

·1-min read
FILE PHOTO: 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

LONDON (Reuters) -GFG Alliance's steel operations in Liege will be restarted shortly, after a Belgian court overturned a ruling they should be put into administration, the company owned by commodities tycoon Sanjeev Gupta said on Thursday.

Gupta has been scrambling to refinance his international network of steel and aluminium and energy businesses following the collapse of supply chain finance firm Greensill Capital last year.

A commercial court in Belgium last month ruled administrators should be appointed to GFG's Liberty Steel operations in Liege due to negative equity, but that decision was overruled on appeal, GFG said in a statement.

"We’re very pleased that our appeal has succeeded and ... we are now looking forward to restarting production as soon as possible," Liberty Steel official Toker Ozcan said.

GFG has injected more than 28 million euros ($30 million)into the Liege operations since December and aims to ramp up production to 110,000 tonnes per month by October, GFG added.

GFG acquired the Liege operations, which include two sites that employ about 650 people in total, and a third steel plant in Dudelange, Luxembourg, from ArcelorMittal in 2019.

Britain's Serious Fraud Office (SFO) stepped up a probe into GFG last month as teams of investigators demanded documents such as balance sheets, annual reports and other correspondence.

The SFO last year opened an investigation into suspected fraud, fraudulent trading and money laundering at the Gupta Family Group Alliance (GFG).

A GFG spokesperson declined to comment at the time, but an internal memo seen by Reuters said the company had consistently rejected any wrongdoing and pledged full cooperation.

($1 = 0.9473 euros)

(Reporting by Eric OnstadEditing by Edmund Blair and Mark Potter)

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