Gupta confident of steel city's revival

FUTURE IS NOW: GFG Alliance Chairman Sanjeev Gupta is ready to look to the future after overcoming his latest financial challenge.
FUTURE IS NOW: GFG Alliance Chairman Sanjeev Gupta is ready to look to the future after overcoming his latest financial challenge.

Having watched one of his key business partners suddenly topple over, putting his entire business at risk, Sanjeev Gupta admits this year has been the toughest time of his life.

But with his debt to former ally Greensill refinanced in a new deal with Credit Suisse, and his Australian steel business making huge profits, Mr Gupta says Whyalla residents can be confident of an exciting future for their local steelworks..

Speaking to the Whyalla News from Dubai, Mr Gupta said it was "finally Whyalla's time".

"After all the work we have done, all the plans, all the visions ... the business is profitable and it now has sustainable finance as well," he said.

"Whyalla is no longer in crisis ... Whyalla is not in jeopardy and will not be again. That is a great achievement, but do we stop there or take this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to turn this into something much bigger and better?"

Mr Gupta said Greensill's collapse was challenging for him to navigate as chairman of GFG Alliance, but his businesses had knuckled down and over-performed during a turbulent time.

"It is incredible in Whyalla, incredible people, an incredible workforce ... whenever they have been faced with hardship they have actually worked harder and achieved better results," he said.

"Eventually we will yield the benefits of that, Whyalla has great attributes as a hub for renewable energy, hydrogen and greensteel."

Looking to the future, Mr Gupta sees Whyalla producing decarbonised steel with great resources for magnetite and renewable energy production available in the region.

"Doing a greensteel project involving hydrogen is not a small undertaking. It is billions of dollars, but the opportunity is there and we will do our best to make it a reality," he said.

"The best consumption for hydrogen steel, for hydrogen to really take off, it needs a base customer - once you have that then you can work on all sorts of other applications for hydrogen."

The news of GFG securing refinancing is seen as a confidence booster by the Whyalla Business and Tourism Group. It could go a long way to securing a destination resort for the foreshore.

Mr Gupta is excited about the possibilty of the hotel going ahead, saying it will help Whyalla grow its population.

He thanked all of GFG Alliance's supporters and workers for their commitment to the cause.