Home > Whyalla tense as Arrium future remains uncertain

Whyalla tense as Arrium future remains uncertain

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The uncertain future of the Whyalla’s main employer, the Arrium steelworks, continues to trouble the city, with a significant capital injection needed to make the plant competitive again.

The ABC’s 7.30 reported last night that, according to unnamed business leaders, retail spending was down as much as 50 per cent.

Thousands of workers are uncertain if the plant will remain open. One steelworks employee, Steve Smith, told 7.30 that employees were told that if they did not accept a 10 per cent pay cut, the site would be shut by Christmas.

Mark Mentha of KordaMentha, the administrators of the Arrium group since April, said a $300 million investment was required to make the steelworks competitive internationally.

“A new bidder will have ideas and initiatives that they’ll be able to take to the marketplace,” said Mentha.

“I’m sure if a government can see that and can see that we can be competitive on a global stage, then I’m sure the support will follow.”

NXT leader, South Australian senator Nick Xenophon, mentioned the need for an urgent capital injection of $250 million at the site, as well as changes to procurement and anti-dupming laws.

Arrium, which collapsed owing over $4 billion, in in the process of being sold off in two parts: Moly-Cop (covering its profitable mining consumables business) and the remained (Arrium Australia, including the steelworks).

The steelworks was loss-making at the time of administration, and would be the least appealing asset for any buyer of Arrium Australia.

KordaMentha expects the restructure and sale to be complete by the year’s end.

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