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Australians drop in to study industrial revival in West Midlands
South Australia finance minister Tom Koutsantonis MP (centre) with the Liberty T1 supercar during a visit to the Liberty Vehicle Technologies (LVT) plant in Leamington Spa. With him are Anthony Blackwell (left) managing director of LVT and Dr. Douglas Dawson, chief executive of Liberty Industries Group.
A senior Australian government minister has travelled more than 10,000 miles to view the achievements of a group of West Midlands engineering businesses, whose parent company has just burst onto the business scene Down Under.
The Hon Tom Koutsantonis MP, South Australia minister for finance, resources and energy today (13th Sept) undertook an intensive fact-finding tour of four hi-tech factories in the Liberty House Group which, along with its sister energy company SIMEC, has just bought Australia’s largest integrated mining and steel business.
Under the umbrella of the GFG Alliance, Liberty and SIMEC have been delivering their strategy to revive heavy industry in the UK and other parts of the world by combining steelmaking with clean energy generation and with high-value engineering. This is known as the GREENSTEEL strategy.
Liberty’s plants at Coventry, Leamington Spa, Oldbury and Kidderminster which make a wide range of sophisticated metal components for the automotive and aerospace industries, supplying some of the biggest name customers in these sectors.
Mr Koutsantonis, said he was keen to discover more about the progress being made by Liberty in transforming previously struggling UK businesses into profitable concerns and plugging them into a low carbon future.
Following two years of rapid growth through high-profile acquisitions, Liberty now employs more than 2,500 people in its West Midlands engineering businesses, and GFG Alliance companies employ a total of more than 5,500 industrial workers across the UK.
GFG recently doubled its global workforce to more than 11,000 through its acquisition in Australia, which included the iconic Whyalla integrated steelworks in South Australia.
To make Whyalla sustainable, GFG intends to work with state and federal government in Australia to introduce largescale green energy to the plant including hydro, solar and heat recapture from existing processes.
Following his tour of Liberty’s sites across the West Midlands Mr Koutsantonis said: “It’s very encouraging to see what GFG is achieving here in the UK. The Group clearly has an imaginative and ambitious programme to revive and sustain industry and that approach is securing highly-skilled British jobs for the long term. We’re looking to seeing the same thing happen in Australia.”
Dr. Douglas Dawson, chief executive of Liberty Industries Group, said: “We’re very pleased to welcome the minister here today and very heartened by the interest he is taking in our operations. Over the past two years we’ve built a productive partnership with central and devolved governments in the UK and we believe we are now developing a similar partnership with government in Australia.”
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