A&M to oversee Aartee Bright Bar administration

15 February 2023 Consultancy.uk 2 min. read

Administrators Alvarez & Marsal have been appointed to UK steel firm AarteeBright Bar. While no preferred bidder has been confirmed, reports in the British press suggest Liberty Steel might be “an obvious buyer” of its long-time client.

Aartee Bright Bar, which is based in the West Midlands and employs 250 people, produces and sells engineering bars through its distribution unit. It is a major customer of Britain’s third-biggest steel producer, Liberty Steel.

However, along with the wider industry, the firm has faced a steep incline in recent years. In particular, it has struggled to recover from when its previous funder, RBS Invoice Finance, withdrew its support for the company in 2020. After this, the company said there was uncertainty over whether Bright Barcould continue as a going concern.

A&M to oversee Aartee Bright Bar administration

"Like many businesses in its sector, Aartee Bright Bar has been facing significant headwinds as a result of the challenging economic environment and fluctuating steel prices. Against this backdrop, administrators have been appointed and we are exploring the options available to preserve value," Michael Magnay, joint administrator at Alvarez & Marsal, noted.

Aartee is owned by Ravi Trehan, a former director of UK steel producer Liberty Steel Newport, other Liberty companies, and a number of entities linked closely with the Gupta Family Group (GFG) Alliance. According to Sky News, Sanjeev Gupta’s Liberty Steel tipped as a potential buyer of its assets.

Quoting a “steel industry source”, Sky News reported that “Liberty Steel would be an obvious buyer of Aartee Bright Bar's assets out of administration.” And while a spokesman for Liberty Steel declined to comment, another source close to the company told Sky News that the firm would "look at how it could help".

The news comes at a time of massive change for the steel industry. The UK government is currently understood to be in talks with Liberty Steel's two larger competitors – Tata Steel and British Steel – about a £600 million injection of taxpayer funding to aid their transition to greener electric arc furnaces. However, the funding for British Steel was recently thrown into doubt – with its Chinese owner planning to axe about 800 jobs across the UK.