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An arm of Sanjeev Gupta's industrial empire which counts Jaguar Land Rover as its main customer faces collapse within days amid last-ditch negotiations with its lender.
Sky News has learnt that Liberty Aluminium Technologies (LAT) is in detailed talks with Close Brothers in an attempt to avert the division being placed into administration.
City sources said on Monday that LAT, which employs 250 people at three UK sites, could be forced into insolvency proceedings as soon as this week, although there remains hope that such an outcome could be avoided, they said.
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Close Brothers has appointed Interpath Advisory - the former restructuring arm of KPMG - to advise it on options for its exposure to LAT.
The division, which is one of many subsidiaries of Mr Gupta's GFG Alliance group of steel, metals and industrial businesses, produces precision parts for automotive customers including JLR.
LAT, which operates from sites at Kidderminster, Witham and Coventry, was put up for sale a month ago following "very constructive and productive meetings" between Mr Gupta and Credit Suisse.
Further details of the discussions between Liberty Steel and Close Brothers could not be obtained on Monday, and it was unclear whether a rescue deal for LAT or refinancing that would allow it to continue to trade was realistic.
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It was also unclear whether JLR might step in to provide emergency funding to prevent LAT's collapse.
Mr Gupta said in April that none of GFG's steel plants would close "on my watch", even as he raced to agree a refinancing of debts owed to Greensill Capital, the lender which collapsed this year in controversial circumstances.
Since then, the Serious Fraud Office has launched a probe into "suspected fraud, fraudulent trading and money laundering in relation to the financing and conduct of the business of companies within the Gupta Family Group Alliance (GFG)".
GFG has pledge to cooperate fully with the SFO's investigation.
The metals tycoon appears to have made progress with some aspects of his companies' efforts to secure breathing space, with The Sunday Times reporting this weekend that he was close to striking a deal with Credit Suisse that would enable him to retain his Australian steelworks.
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If LAT does call in insolvency practitioners, it would not be the first part of Mr Gupta's group to do so, with some French downstream aluminium businesses having collapsed in April.
In the UK, its aerospace and special alloys steel business in Stocksbridge has been put on the block alongside its performance steels division in West Bromwich.
Alvarez & Marsal is running those processes.
Chunks of GFG's French operations, including its steel plant at Hayange, are also up for sale.
Mr Gupta has requested UK government support in the form of a £170m emergency loan.
Ministers rejected the plea on the basis that they could not be sure that the funds would not be used to prop up other parts of Mr Gupta's international empire.
Questioned by MPs in May, Kwasi Kwarteng, business secretary, said his department would continue to closely monitor the situation.
A GFG Alliance spokesperson said: "Over the last month the Restructuring and Transformation Committee (RTC) has been exploring strategic options regarding the future of Liberty Aluminium Technologies Ltd (LAT).
"The RTC, supported by Alvarez & Marsal, have focused on identifying new owners which would provide a sustainable future for the business serving automotive OEMs.
"The RTC is in discussions with four interested parties with a view to achieving an accelerated sale process and is also in discussions with LAT's main creditor to give it the time to conclude that process effectively."
Close Brothers and JLR both declined to comment.
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