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  • 05/05/2021
  • Press Release

LIBERTY Steel Group appoints specialist board directors to navigate Greensill collapse

LIBERTY Steel Group (LIBERTY) has today announced the appointment of four experienced board directors who will lead and accelerate the restructuring and refinancing of LIBERTY in order to protect and maximise creditor and stakeholder value.

The appointments represent a step forward in LIBERTY’s response to the collapse of its principal lender, Greensill Capital. LIBERTY is prudently managing cash across its global operations to ensure it has adequate funding for its current needs while its refinancing is completed.  LIBERTY is making good progress with refinancing –  LIBERTY Primary Steel and Mining Australia has today agreed terms to refinance its Greensill exposure.  Record steel prices and LIBERTY’s operational improvement programme have enabled its core businesses to maintain their strong performance since the beginning of the year.

The new appointments will join the LIBERTY board with immediate effect and form a new Restructuring & Transformation Committee (RTC) which will be led by an independent Chief Restructuring Officer (CRO), and include an independent Chief Transformation Officer (CTO), a Chief Governance Officer (CGO) and a newly appointed Chief Financial Officer (CFO).  The RTC will be supported by LIBERTY management and report to the full LIBERTY board.

The RTC will be given full autonomy to restructure LIBERTY’s operations to focus on core profitable units, and either fix or sell underperforming units.  This restructuring combined with the continuing strength in steel and iron ore markets will present a solid basis for the future of LIBERTY.  The RTC will support stakeholder engagement and work with the LIBERTY board and its adviser panel, comprising of PJT, Alvarez & Marsal and Norton Rose Fulbright, to negotiate an amicable solution with Greensill’s administrators and other stakeholders which protects value and provides the best outcome for all stakeholders.

Jeffrey S. Stein joins LIBERTY as Chief Restructuring Officer (CRO).  Jeffrey is an accomplished corporate executive and director, including leadership and committee positions, of both public and private companies. Jeffrey has served as an Executive Chairman, Chief Restructuring Officer and Liquidating Trustee and as a director on audit, compensation, corporate governance, finance, restructuring, and risk committees including as Chairman of those committees.  Jeffrey previously served as Chief Restructuring Officer of Whiting Petroleum Corporation, Philadelphia Energy Solutions LLC and Westmoreland Coal Company.  Jeffrey has substantial transaction experience, generating positive returns for investors.  Jeffrey is a Certified Turnaround Professional as designated by the Turnaround Management Association.  Jeffrey will be based in the US but will be present across our businesses as appropriate.

Jeff Kabel joins LIBERTY as Chief Transformation Officer (CTO).  Jeff is a commercial leader with broad trading and asset optimisation background in the metals & mining and energy industries.  Jeff is Chairman Emeritus of the International Steel Trade Association (ISTA) and helped lead its collaboration with the UK government to align the cost competitiveness of UK producers with their European competition. Before this Jeff was Executive Director at JP Morgan in London where he led the firm’s global ferrous commodity effort. Prior to his time at JP Morgan he operated in a similar capacity at Koch Industries.  Jeff will be based in London.

Iain Hunter joins LIBERTY as Chief Governance Officer (CGO). Iain is an experienced business leader with a career spanning over 30 years in financial services including fifteen years serving on boards dealing with a range of governance issues for growth companies and those in more challenged circumstances.  Iain served as Chief Executive Officer of Wyelands Bank plc between 2015-2020, prior to which he held several senior leadership positions at CIT Bank Limited including Chief Executive Officer and Chief Risk Officer during the global financial crisis.  Iain will be based in Dubai.

Deepak Sogani joins LIBERTY as its new Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and interim CFO for GFG Alliance. Deepak is replacing V Ashok, who has decided to step down for personal reasons.  V Ashok will remain in place until the end of May 2021 to ensure a smooth hand over. Deepak is a seasoned global professional with experience across multiple industries including industrial businesses, technology, and financial services.  Deepak has a track record for successful restructuring and refinancing situations during major roles in the metals industry, serving as the CFO for the listed steel producer Jindal Steel and Power Limited and, most recently, as Managing Director for Metals & Mining at Essar Capital Services. Deepak will be based in Dubai.

Notes
Both CRO and CTO roles are independent interim roles brought in for a special purpose to restructure and refinance the group.  CRO and CTO roles are paid fees and are not employees of the company.  Neither the CRO or CTO are creditors or equity holders, and they have no material relationship with the group other than their fees.

Further information from:

Andrew Mitchell
Head of Communications – UK, GFG Alliance
+44 (0) 7516 029 522 andrew.mitchell@gfgalliance.com
Patrick Toyne-Sewell
Head of Communications – Europe
+44 (0) 7767 498 195 Patrick.toyne-sewell@gfgalliance.com

Note to Editors
LIBERTY Steel Group, part of the GFG Alliance and a leading GREENSTEEL producer, is a global integrated steel business bringing together assets across the steel supply chain, from production of liquid steel from raw and recycled materials through to high value precision engineered steels. With a total rolling capacity of 20 million tonnes, 200+ manufacturing locations globally across 10 countries and employing more than 30,000 people, LIBERTY Steel’s furnaces, mills, services centres and distribution sites across the UK, continental Europe, Australia, the United States and China serve demanding sectors such as construction, energy, aerospace, automotive, and infrastructure. LIBERTY Steel is a leader in sustainable industry with a mission to become Carbon Neutral by 2030 (CN30).