British Steel in exclusive talks with Turkish military pension fund

18 Août, 2019, 13:39 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • The Official Receiver has named Ataer Holdings as preferred bidder for the British Steel business

The Turkish Armed Forces Assistance Fund known as Oyak has entered exclusive talks with the UK Government to buy British Steel.

British Steel, which is now owned by private investment company Greybull Capital LLP, has said its workforce, and an additional 20,000 employees in the supply chain, are at risk of losing their jobs if a suitable buyer can not be found.

British Steel employs 5,000 people, including 3,000 at its site in Scunthorpe and a further 800 in nearby Teeside.

It said: "During the exclusivity period, close negotiations to be held with customers, suppliers, employees and trade unions is significant for the future success of British Steel".

The Government's officials in charge of the process added that they had received several bids, calling the offer from Ataer Holdings - which already has a 50 per cent stake in Turkey's largest steel producer Erdemir, "acceptable".

Anna Turley, Labour MP for Redcar, said: 'No one wanted to see a repeat of the disaster in 2015 and to their credit ministers have stepped up this time, including with the support package for this sale.

The head of OYAK's mining and metallurgy division, Toker Ozcan, said his priority would be "to increase the production capacity and to invest in clean steel production in British Steel".

'This is great news for British Steel and the thousands of workers and their families, including 700 on Teesside, who can now have some confidence that their industry has a future.

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The government has previously said it would "leave no stone unturned to get a good solution for British Steel at Scunthorpe, Skinningrove, and on Teesside", which are the company's three main manufacturing bases in the UK.

"Whilst the coming weeks will be crucial for hammering out the detail and successfully completing a sale, the outlook is now extremely positive".

Stace called on the government to support the deal and come up with a long-term approach to support the industry.

Ataer said since British Seel went bankrupt on 21 May and entered a formal auction process, almost 80 bidders across the world have expressed an interest.

Harish Patel, national officer for steel at the Unite union, said workers at the plan would feel "relief".

"This dedicated and loyal workforce must not be an afterthought amidst all of the speculation", he said, adding that they were put in the position "through no fault of their own".

The collapse of the company could have spelled disaster for Scunthorpe and its steel workers if no buyer had been found.

The Government must also introduce a proper industrial strategy which tackles procurement issues to ensure that public contracts use United Kingdom steel.

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