We Want to Make Liberty Ostrava One of the Leading Steelmakers in the World Sanjeev Gupta is an international businessman and entrepreneur, heading a global enterprise with activities encompassing steel and aluminium manufacture, engineering, power generation, mining, banking, property and commodities trading. As Executive Chairman of the GFG Alliance, he leads a fast-growing $20 billion global industrial group, headquartered in London, and a presence in over 30 countries. Born into a family of industrialists in Punjab, he graduated with an MA in Economics and Management from the University of Cambridge. He founded Liberty House in 1992, while still an undergraduate. Sanjeev Gupta lives in South Wales in the UK with his wife Nicola and their three young children. Mr Gupta, your investment in the Ostrava steelworks is among the largest investments in the region. Why did you decide to go to Ostrava? First let me say, that I am really happy that we managed to get the deal completed and we are starting the real work. We are very pleased to welcome Ostrava into the GFG Alliance and Liberty Steel family because it is a very high-quality operation which ArcelorMittal only sold because it was forced to do so. Liberty Ostrava is very well positioned due to its strategic location in Central Europe, which is growing at a faster rate than western Europe. It has a strong presence in its chosen markets, both long and flat steel, with a competitive cost structure. To me though, the most important thing is that the Ostrava workers are among the most experienced experts in steelmaking in the world. This, together with experienced management gives us a good starting point and now it is up to us to analyse all the strengths and weaknesses of the plant, and to develop a sustainable strategy for the benefit of the Ostrava region and for the good future of the employees and our community. As I have already said, our goal is to make Liberty Ostrava one of the leading steelmakers in the world. You are a company registered in the British Isles. What will Brexit mean for you? This is a serious issue for the UK and I am very concerned for three thousand employees and their families in Britain. In my view at this juncture a clear and quick outcome is more important than which side the outcome finally lands on, more delay and procrastination will hurt UK even more. British people are resilient and will prosper no matter the journey ahead, they just need clarity now. However, Brexit will have little or no impact on our Ostrava business. Are you ready for the new challenges of manufacturing automation and digitization? What investments are you preparing [at Ostrava]? Ostrava steelworks is an innovation centre in the region. Its 1,000 engineers and over a hundred automation specialists continuously work on the modernization of the manufacturing processes. Tens of automation and digitization projects have been implemented and I am impressed that most of our
improvement ideas come from employees working on the shopfloor. In the longer term, the completion of the acquisition triggered the start of a 100 day review, a comprehensive analysis of the business, which explores investment opportunities and develops detailed plans to boost competitiveness, extend product range and support sales growth.
Ostrava steelworks is an innovation centre in the region.
Social responsibility is not only in fashion but also a necessity. What are your plans? The GFG Alliance is strongly committed to building long term sustainable businesses. We intend to extend the GFG Foundation´s existing programmes to Ostrava: promoting employee learning, career and skills development in engineering, metals and renewable energy; as well as attracting young people into the industry by providing direct experience and education to better inform their future education and career decisions. At the same time, we expect to continue with existing programmes as well, including those relating to local culture. However, recommendations on future extent of CSR programmes will be one of the detailed outputs from the 100 day review. You had the opportunity to look around in the city and the region. Did you find anything interesting? I am impressed by the Dolni Vitkovic area, especially its Science and Technology Centre, the Gong and the Bolt Tower, which, I have learned, was made of Liberty Ostrava steel. I had a great chance to experience this area during this year´s Colours of Ostrava, which filled the city with an incredibly positive energy. And I am really proud that Liberty Ostrava is a partner to both the festival and the vibrant industrial area, which is a tribute to steel. I am yet to discover more that the city and the region has to offer, which I am sincerely looking forward to! Thank you for the interview. - editorial -
Text: redakce Foto: archiv Liberty Ostrava a.s. www.libertyostrava.cz
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