Sanjeev Gupta’s GFG Alliance has sold two aluminium parts factories after Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) stepped in to secure a vital part of its supply chain.
Evtec, an automotive supplier based in Coventry, will take over Liberty Aluminium Technologies casting plants in Coventry and Kidderminster in the West Midlands, saving 170 jobs. However, GFG is closing a site in Witham, Essex, with the loss of 64 jobs.
GFG has gone through months of restructuring since the collapse of its key lender, Greensill Capital, in March. The collapse prompted Gupta to rush to find new lenders to finance his businesses, while also looking at asset sales and dealing with potential criminal investigations in the UK and France. It is understood Evtec paid more than £10m for the two sites.
JLR, the UK’s biggest automotive manufacturing employer, intervened to ask Evtec to take on the sites because of concerns over whether Liberty’s travails would threaten supplies of key components. The Midlands sites produce lightweight aluminium parts mainly for car powertrains.
However, the Essex plant had struggled after it lost business from Ford, which produces engines at Dagenham.
British automotive suppliers are struggling with reduced sales as the global shortage of computer chips causes carmakers to slow production of their models. At the same time, many smaller suppliers are also facing the prospect of major investments or else going out of business if they do not switch from making parts for internal combustion engines to electric vehicles.
Evtec, which is pushing into making parts for electric cars, earlier this year rescued another of JLR’s ailing suppliers, Arlington Automotive.
David Roberts, Evtec’s owner, said: “I’m thrilled that we’ve managed to save some high-quality jobs. Somebody has to invest in the supply chain of automotive or else we won’t have one.”
A GFG Alliance spokesperson said: “Liberty Aluminium Technologies (LAT) has been under significant commercial pressure in recent years as a result of structural changes to the automotive sector which have created very challenging conditions for customers, particularly [carmakers].”
The spokesman added that the company had to “regretfully announce” that the Essex plant would close, and thanked workers their dedication “during a period of uncertainty”.