U.K. Aerospace Firms Meet to Assess Exposure to Liberty Steel

Several major U.K. aerospace companies were set to meet Thursday to assess industry exposure to Sanjeev Gupta’s Liberty Steel, a supplier whose future is in doubt because of its relationship with the failed financial firm Greensill Capital.

The meeting is being coordinated by the U.K. Aerospace Growth Partnership, a government-industry body, said a person familiar with the matter. Most of the seven members of a U.K. supply chain task force are expected to attend, said the person, who asked not to be named ahead of the discussion.

One of those members, Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc, confirmed that it is a Liberty Steel customer. The London-based aero-engine supplier said it was “exploring alternative options for the longer-term should a situation emerge that would require us to source steel from other suppliers.”

The companies are set to discuss the potential impact of the struggles facing Liberty, which supplies specialist steel to aerospace manufacturers, and to look at alternative sources, the person said. The specialized nature of the products means there could be continuity issues, they said.

Officials in Boris Johnson’s government aren’t involved in preliminary discussions, the person said.

The U.K. Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has been holding talks with Liberty Steel in recent days.

In its statement, Rolls-Royce said Liberty Steel isn’t its only supplier, calling the situation “manageable.”

Other members of the ADS Group task force include Airbus SE, French engine-maker Safran SA, Spirit AeroSystems Holdings Inc., Bombardier Inc., Collins Aerospace, a unit of Raytheon Technologies; and GKN, owned by Melrose Plc. The ADS Group is a broad industry lobby for aerospace, defense, space and security firms.

A spokesperson for Gupta’s GFG Alliance declined to comment.

Liberty Steel has been swept up in the fallout of the collapse of its financing partner Greensill earlier this week. The firm was the main lender for Gupta’s collection of businesses, and he acknowledged this week it had created a “challenging situation.”

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