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The British billionaire of Indian origin who saved the Whyalla steelworks last year, now wants to bring back car manufacturing to Australia.
Sanjeev Gupta’s London-based Liberty House Group bought the Whyalla Steelworks last year. The Indian-born businessman who studied at Cambridge has earned himself a reputation for turning around sick businesses having relaunched 25 businesses since 2013 and saving around 4,500 jobs. He is credited with helping to rejuvenate the UK automotive and aerospace industries.
Last year, Mr Gupta saved the struggling Arrium steelworks in Whyalla when it went into voluntary administration due to a huge debt of four billion dollars.
According to media reports, now Mr Gupta is looking to start manufacturing electric cars in South Australia.
The Advertiser reported that his company has contacted General Motors Holden and offered to buy the now-closed plant in Elizabeth.
Quoting a letter written by the state treasure Tom Koutsantonis, the newspaper reported that GFG Alliance intends to manufacture electric cars at the plant using Holden’s “innovative i-Stream technology”.
“We are incredibly excited and supportive of the GFG Alliance’s bid and subsequent plans to ensure the continuation of our very proud history of automotive excellence and innovation in South Australia,” Koutsantonis wrote in the letter dated 17 January.
“We believe that the GFG Alliance’s plans would put South Australia at the forefront of the inevitable transition of the Australian market to electric vehicles and ask that all due consideration be given to their bid and the potentially significant benefits to the automotive industry and broader community in South Australia.”
Last year, Mr Gupta committed to an investment of $700 million in a range of large-scale renewable energy projects in South Australia, including a 100MWh lithium-ion battery that will be built in Port Augusta.
The Holden site was sold to the Melbourne-based industrial group- Pelligra in December last year, which wants to turn the site into a hi-tech manufacturing hub. Holden has retained a part of the site to continue its parts and servicing operations and is also looking for tenants.
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