Mumbai–Tata Steel UK on Tuesday said it has signed a definitive sale agreement with Liberty House Group to sell its 42 and 84-inch pipe mills in Hartlepool.

The sale agreement covers the Submerged Arc Weld (SAW) mills, where about 140 employees manufacture pipeline for gas and oil projects around the world.

The steel maker said both parties would be working to complete consultations with employees and trade unions, as well as the transfer of supplier and customer contracts. The transaction is expected to be completed within the next few months.

“As a responsible seller we have worked long and hard to find a sustainable future for the 42- and 84-inch pipe mills. With this sale, the company will complete its portfolio restructuring to focus on the strip products supply chain linked to Port Talbot. The sale is also an important step towards developing a more sustainable future for the rest of our UK business,” Tata Steel UK CEO Bimlendra Jha.

The two mills are fed with steel plate sourced from outside Tata Steel, so the mills are independent of the company’s strip products supply chain.

The steel maker, however, said it will retain its 20-inch tube mill at the same site, where a further 270 people work.

To further strengthen the 20-inch mill, Tata Steel will be making a 1 million pound investment to increase its capability to make high-strength steel tubes, it said.

The steel producer claimed that it will continue to be the largest steelmaker in Britain following the sale of the 42- and 84-inch pipe mills and it has invested more than 1.6 billion pounds in its business in the country since acquiring Corus in 2007. (IANS)