The UK tax authority issued winding-up orders against several businesses controlled by metals tycoon Sanjeev Gupta, putting almost 3,000 jobs at risk in the British steel industry.
The petition to wind up the businesses, filed in London’s High Court, comes amid ongoing discussions with creditors and could force Gupta’s Liberty Steel into insolvency.
The industrialist has been racing to find new funding for his global metals and energy empire, GFG Alliance, since its main lender, Greensill Capital, collapsed into administration in March 2021.
HM Revenue & Customs has issued winding up petitions against several subsidiaries owned by Gupta, according to a person close to the situation and court filings.
Together the businesses employ close to 3,000 workers, including at Liberty’s two main plants at Rotherham and Stocksbridge in Yorkshire.
The FT reported last year that Gupta’s metals plants missed payments to the UK tax authorities. His steel businesses had failed to transfer monies owed to HMRC under the pay as you earn (PAYE) system for staff workers as well as VAT.
Liberty Steel said it was “committed to repaying all our creditors and continue to work with all stakeholders around the UK to create a sustainable future for our businesses following the collapse of Greensill Capital”.
“We are in continuous dialogue with all our creditors including HMRC to find an amicable solution that’s in the best interest of all stakeholders. Short-term actions that risk destabilising these efforts are not in anyone’s interest, and undermine creditor recovery at a critical stage in our debt restructuring efforts that seek to secure the future of our businesses.”
HMRC said it took a “supportive approach to dealing with customers who have tax debts, working with them to find the best possible solution based on their financial circumstances”.