Calcutta, Dec. 2: Nearly three years after acquiring Anglo-Dutch steel maker Corus Group Plc, Tata Steel is getting ready for a major brand makeover.
Tata Steel is likely to drop the Corus brandname and its distinctive red-coloured logo that is widely used across Europe and opt for its own brand soon.
No timeline has been fixed for the final eclipse of the Corus brand. Sources said at this stage it was only an intention and a final approval of the plan was awaited.
Tata Steel can confirm its intention to adopt the Tata Steel brand as the visual identity of its Corus operations, continuing a transition that began more than a year ago when Tata Steel Europe became the legal name for Corus. Should the next stage of this transition get final approval, implementation is expected to start by the middle of 2010, Corus spokesperson Bob Jones told The Telegraph.
After the Tatas bought Corus in 2007 for $12 billion in Indias biggest-ever cross-border acquisition, the local company slowly took steps to realign operations and corporate integration.
Consequently, the corporate identity of Corus Group Plc was changed to Tata Steel Europe, which happened about a year ago. Kirby Adams heads the operation in Europe spread across the UK and the Netherlands.
For all practical purposes, Corus is the name used in the market by the employees, suppliers and buyers. The rebranding exercise will involve a huge expenditure to create a new communications strategy for the market place.
A Tata Steel official in India did not elaborate how much would be spent on the rebranding exercise but said the amount would be enormous.
Given the fact that the Tata Steel Group, which includes Europe, India and Southeast Asia operations, reported loss in two subsequent quarters, and Corus had undertaken austerity measures to pare costs, there was only a limited scope available for the management.
The Corus name has been in use for a decade following the merger of British Steel and Netherlands Koninklijke Hoogovens on October 6, 1999.
The name Corus was emblematic of the manufacturing industry in the UK even as it was not like the marquee British brands such as Jaguar or Land Rover which the Tata group bought after Corus.
However, the steel company is one of the largest employers in England with 23,600 people on the rolls. It also employs 11,100 people in the Netherlands and 5,000 more in different countries, totalling around 40,000.
It would be worthwhile to note the reaction in the UK to the branding makeover.
The Tatas had bought tea maker Tetley earlier this decade, long before Corus and JLR, but chose to retain the brand name.
Unlike FMCG products such as tea or the automotive segment such as JLR where the product is sold to a retail consumer, steel is sold to businesses where there may be less resistance to a brand makeover.