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09/04/2010 - Margaret Hodge MP and Indian Steel

MARGARET ‘Loads of Money’ Hodge, MP, is a very interesting woman. 

 
Margaret Eve Hodge was born Margaret Oppenheimer on 8 September 1944, in Cairo,
Egypt. She’s currently the Labour MP for Barking in outer East London.
 
As well as being a socialist she’s a multi-millionaire.
 
Her money comes from her father, the multi-millionaire German steel trader, Hans Oppenheimer. When he died in 1985, his 50% stake in the company passed to his four daughters – one of whom is Margaret Hodge - and his son, Ralph Oppenheimer. By last year, Hodge and her family owned 71% of the company.
 
The family firm in which she holds a large stake is called Stemcor Holdings.
 
It describes itself as “the world’s largest independent steel trader.”

 
Stemcor’s services “span every step in the steel supply chain and include finance, provision of raw materials, steel trading, distribution and stockholding.”
 
Stemcor seems to be doing ok. It had an annual turnover in 2008 of more than £6.28 billion. (Turnover exceeded £3.5 billion in 2009 – the drop was probably due to the global economic downturn.)
 
And if Stemcor is doing well, so is Hodge. The family firm is now the third wealthiest private company in the whole of the UK. In 2008, The Sunday Times valued Hodge’s family wealth at a cool £178 million.

 
Stemcor’s main offices are based in London. But it’s a huge multi-national organisation. It has 80 offices across the globe and “aims to be the partner of choice for producers and purchasers of steel in every part of the world.”

 

It’s not immediately clear if Stemcor produces steel in Britain

What is known, however, is that it owns factories and production facilities across the Third World and particularly in India where it has extensive interests. (Indeed, India – along with China - are among the world's largest steel consuming markets.)

For instance, Stemcor has a 50% share in Aryan Mining in Orissa, India, which “has proved a very successful investment.”


 

It is also likely to buy at least 20% stake in Sathavahana Ispat and it also small stakes in two other Indian firms - a 5% stake in Kolkata-based Electrosteel Castings, and a 10% stake in Rita Singh-promoted Mesco Steel.

Whilst Stemcor is doing grand, spare a thought for British steelworkers.


 
In mid-February, the last remaining steelworks in Teesside closed. The closure of Teesside Cast Products (TCP), based in Redcar means that around 1,6000 workers are kicking their heels. And another 8,000 associated jobs are at risk.

 
Interestingly, TCP is owned by Corus. And Coris is owned by the Tata Steel Group TSG).  And TSG is owned by the Tata Group, who are based in India.

 
It’s ironic that the Hodge/Oppenheimer-controlled Stemcor Holdings seems to be making money hand-over-fist by investing in Indian steel firms. At the same time, British workers are thrown on the dole.



 

 

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