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FB Roundup: Tata Steel, Lotte Group, and Monarch

Tata Steel considers selling British plants; Lotte founder loses seat on board; and Greybull Capital mulling sale of Monarch Airlines

Tata Steel considers selling British plants

Tata Steel, one of the largest steelmakers in the world, is considering the sale of its entire UK business after heavy losses.

According to a company statement from the family-controlled conglomerate, the increase in Chinese imports, coupled with slow demand, has caused the price of steel in Europe to plunge by half since 2011. 

More than 15,000 British workers are at risk losing their jobs, while Prime Minister David Cameron has flown back from a European holiday to chair an emergency meeting on the steel crisis.

Tata has invested in Port Talbot and earlier in smaller plants in Scunthorpe, but has lost some £2 billion ($2.9 billion) over the last five years.

Tata Group had revenues of $108 billion in 2015 and is in the fifth generation.

Lotte founder loses seat on board

Shin Kyuk-Ho, the nonagenarian founder of Korean chaebol Lotte Group, has lost his board seat amid a leadership struggle between two of his sons.

According to a company statement, shareholders of Hotel Lotte agreed not to reappoint him as a board member when his term expired. Shin founded the hotel unit 43 years ago.

The news is the latest in long-running power struggle between the founder’s two sons, Dong-joo and Dong-bin, who own comparable stakes in the company, and are vying for control of the 90 trillion won ($77 billion) business.

Shin Kyuk-ho founded Lotte in Japan in 1948 as a snack maker, but entered Korea in 1967 and has grown the business to be the country's fifth-largest conglomerate.

Greybull Capital mulling sale of Monarch Airlines

Greybull Capital, the UK-based family office that acquired a 90% stake in Monarch Airlines from the Swiss-Italian Mantegazza family last year, is reportedly planning to sell off the carrier, according to The Sunday Times.

Budget airline rivals such as easyJet and Norwegian Air Shuttle are being considered as potential buyers, while Air Berlin may be targeted for a possible merger, the paper revealed.

Greybull Capital, headed by Marc and Nathaniel Meyohas, bought the European airline in October 2014 as a long-term investment. They have appointed Deutsche Bank to explore the company’s growth options in Europe.

Monarch Airlines had been a profitable business until the late 1990s until travellers started opting for budget airlines. The Mantegazza family injected £75 million (£108 million) into the business in 2011, and two years earlier had put in £45 million.

A spokesman for Monarch denied that there was a "sale process" underway: "Monarch has sought the assistance of Deutsche Bank who will look at both inbound and outbound opportunities."

Separately, Greybull Capital continues to negotiate the potential purchase of Tata Steel's long products Europe business.


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