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Hope for 4,000 jobs as Chinese buyer saves British Steel

By James Pugh | Wolverhampton | Business | Published:

The future of British Steel has been secured through a £50 million rescue deal by Chinese industrial giant Jingye, in a move it is hoped will save about 4,000 jobs.

British Steel's site in Wolverhampton

But it is not yet known what the deal will mean for British Steel's Wolverhampton Metal Centre in Horseley Fields, which employs about 30 people.

The Insolvency Service confirmed the deal, which involves Jingye buying British Steel’s Scunthorpe plant, as well as its operations in Teesside and France.

British Steel went into administration in May after months of financial struggles, prompting the government to take temporary control while it looked for a buyer.

The Government’s official receiver signed the deal in principle, although the deal is yet to be formally closed out.

Jingye is thought to be planning to keep as many people on as possible, but has not given any guarantees.

Jingye plans to invest £1.2 billion in the business over the next decade, it said, improving the new company’s environmental credentials in a bid to “place the operations on a more competitive and sustainable footing”.

The group said: “Jingye will further help to ensure a long-term sustainable future for British Steel and its employees by investing in identifying new markets and products. Jingye anticipates making offers to as many employees across the business as possible.”

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Jingye Group chairman, Li Ganpo, said: “We are delighted to have reached this agreement. As a young company with large ambitions we have long admired British Steel and appreciate its illustrious heritage.

“We share with the thousands of British Steel workers a passion for this industry and we are determined that together we can transform this business.”

He added: “This is the beginning of a long journey. We know that this is only the start of the hard work of revitalising British Steel.

"But we believe that this combination will create a powerful, profitable and sustainable business that will ensure the long-term future of thousands of jobs while producing the innovative high-quality steel products that the world needs.”

Jingye produces about 15 million tonnes of steel a year, and employs 23,500 people.

James Pugh

By James Pugh
@JamesP_Star

Shropshire Star Business and Farming Editor.

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