Liberty Steel plans to roll commodity-grade rebar and wire rod at its Thrybergh bar mill at Rotherham in the UK. Thrybergh makes specialist hot and cold-finished bars for the automotive and yellow goods industries.
The company said it will expand crude steel capacity at Rotherham by over 500,000 t/yr to support the increased rolling capacity, which will take effect from September.
Liberty said it is expanding its product mix to “target attractive market segments”. Demand from the automotive, yellow goods and aerospace sectors — the primary segments served by Liberty Speciality Steel, alongside oil and gas — has weakened because of Covid-19.
Construction demand could be supported by infrastructure projects such as the HS2 rail line, the company said.
The UK rebar market absorbs around 1.2mn t/yr. Half of this comes from imports, most of which are received by the 50pc of domestic fabricators not owned by Celsa. Since the demise of Thamesteel, Celsa has been the UK’s only domestic rebar producer.
Liberty also said it could install a Q-one electric-arc furnace at its hot-rolled coil mill in Newport, which currently produces speed-stock grades by rolling imported slab. This would enable it to produce 1.5mn-2.0mn t/yr of direct-cast strip for the UK market. Without its own hot-end, it is difficult for the plant, which has been operating below capacity, to make money.