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Prospect of thamesteel reopening is ‘gloomy’

Thamesteel in Brielle Way, Sheerness
Thamesteel in Brielle Way, Sheerness

The prospect of Thamesteel reopening is looking increasingly gloomy according to MP Gordon Henderson.

He was speaking after a meeting with the firm’s new owners on Tuesday morning.

The steelworks in Brielle Way, Sheerness, went into administration in January but in June it was sold to a company which is part of former owners, the Al-Tuwairqi Group (ATG).

However, last week we reported its future was again in doubt as the firm is looking for financial backers before it can reopen.

Following this announcement, Mr Henderson met manager Sanjeev Manocha and operations manager Colin Poppe at his constituency office.

It was a chance for him to be updated on the situation and he said the management took the opportunity to reiterate the fact the “sticking point” is that Peel Ports, which owns the site, is pursuing legal action to get clarification on who owns the mill’s assets.

Sittingbourne and Sheppey MP Gordon Henderson
Sittingbourne and Sheppey MP Gordon Henderson

Mr Henderson said: “We are working very hard to find an investor but it’s catch 22 – you can’t get an investor because Peel Ports is querying ownership of the assets.”

He believes a possible solution could be for a company to invest in ATG rather than the assets but to do this, they would have to be convinced it will be successful so they would get a return on their money. Mr Henderson said: “It was good to talk to them because I have confidence in the current management.

“But it’s finding a solution to the problem of establishing ownership – that’s the key to everything.

“If we can do that in a speedy manner investors will have more clarity.

“I very much hope a solution can be found because if it isn’t the prospect of reopening is increasingly gloomy – the longer it goes on the more expensive it will be to get it up and running and the less likely we are to find an investor.”

Another meeting was due to take place between Mr Henderson, Sheerness Steel (as it has been renamed) and the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, to see if there is a way to speed up determining who owns the assets.

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