China`s Jingye Group in talks to buy British Steel

11 Novembre, 2019, 22:39 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • CITY British Steel

A £70 million rescue deal to save British Steel has been agreed in principle with the Chinese Jingye Group, saving the jobs of 4,000 people working at sites in Scunthorpe and Teesside as well as 20,000 more in the wider supply chain.

Jingye has 23,500 employees and as well as its main steel and iron making businesses, it is also involved in hotels, tourism and property.

Stace told the BBC that the two companies would complement one another as both make wire rod, but British Steel makes rail and heavy sections, such as girders, which Jingye doesn't make.

Nic Dakin, the Labour candidate for Scunthorpe, said: "The workforce at British Steel have done an outstanding job continuing to make and sell steel through these hard few months". The Turkish firm is said to have fallen to third place in the bidding, also behind steel baron Sanjeev Gupta, who owns the UK-based Liberty House group.

"I'm talking about energy costs, business rates, procurement, the government buying more steel from the United Kingdom, free and fair trade, and even much more support for research and development, which we are going to lose when we fall out of the EU".

Labour's shadow business secretary Rebecca Long Bailey welcomed the "reassuring news" for the thousands of workers - while the government fails "to provide the support our steel sector urgently needs".

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The group is reportedly planning to increase production at British Steel's Scunthorpe plant to more than three million tonnes per year from 2.5 million.

The UK steel industry has struggled for several years amid claims that China has flooded the market with cheap products.

Reaction from the trade unions has been cautious but largely positive, with national officer for GMB union, Ross Murdoch, saying that he was "impressed with the passion and enthusiasm from the Jingye team".

"However, due diligence on this sale was completed very quickly and the devil will be in the detail".

"I would be surprised if it did not get finalized, but it's not a done deal", he said.

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