Sanjeev Gupta has been sometimes called a knight in shining armor, saving the workforce of distressed steel mills across Europe and Australia.
Now, Liberty House Group — the Gupta-controlled metals and engineering empire — plans to enter the Indian market, and is looking at investing in the renewable energy, auto component, shipping, engineering and infrastructure sectors.
If it happens, in a sense, life would have come a full circle for the Punjab born, U.K.-based Gupta.
In an interview with the Indian newspaper Live Mint, Gupta said the entry would probably be through the acquisition of distressed assets or direct investment.
Gupta hurried to add they were in no hurry to enter this market segment, though.
In mid-July, the steel tycoon bought the U.K. assets of Amtek Global Technologies Pte, a subsidiary of India’s debt-ridden Amtek Auto, for an undisclosed amount. It would save 550 jobs. The Liberty Group is also said to be actively looking at bidding for the ABG Shipyard Ltd and the India assets of Amtek Auto. Amtek and ABG Shipyard are two of the 12 large defaulters identified by the Reserve Bank of India for launch of early bankruptcy proceedings under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC).
These two acquisitions could be the stepping stone for Liberty House’s entry into India, though only time will tell.
“Give me your distressed and I shall retain their jobs” seems be the motto of Liberty House, though some experts and sector observers have started questioning the viability of its business plan.
After all, where other majors had failed, what magic formula does Liberty House have to turn around the same, loss-making businesses?