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Liberty House to buy ArcelorMittal's U.S. Georgetown steel plant

Sanjeev Gupta, executive chairman of Liberty House Group, poses for a photo at the company's Dubai office, UAE June 19, 2016. REUTERS/David French

LONDON (Reuters) - Metals group Liberty House Group has agreed to buy the Georgetown Steelworks plant from Arcelor Mittal in its first major U.S. acquisition, the companies said on Friday.

London-based Liberty will buy the plant based in South Carolina, including its 540,000 tonne a year electric arc furnace and 680,000 tonne a year rod mill, the joint statement said. It did not disclose the cost of deal.

The Georgetown plant was closed in August 2015 and directly employed more than 320 workers.

"Acquiring the plant at Georgetown, with its ability to recycle scrap steel in an arc furnace, gives us a strong platform from which to launch our strategy in the USA," said Liberty House executive chairman Sanjeev Gupta.

The provisional deal marks the "first significant step in Liberty's plan to make major investments in the U.S. steel industry", the statement said.

Liberty House was in talks with the United Steelworks union on recruiting a workforce to re-open the plant.

ArcelorMittal said in February that it expected apparent steel consumption in the United States and in Brazil to rise 4 percent this year.

(Reporting by Zandi Shabalala, editing by David Evans)