Jingye Group completes its buyout of British Steel

Jingye Group, the steelmaker, has completed its buyout of British Steel, reviving a business that was placed into compulsory liquidation last May and saving more than 3 000 jobs.

In a statement the group said it had completed the acquisition of British Steel’s UK and Dutch assets from the official receiver and confirmed it planned to invest US$1.5 billion in the company. About 3 200 staff have been offered contracts, while 400 were told that they would be made redundant when the sale closes.

Jingye said it would buy British Steel’s main plant in Scunthorpe, even though it had not had a reply from the French government about a French unit seen as a potential obstacle to the deal.

“It has not been an easy journey since we first announced our intentions in November 2019,” said Li Huiming, Jingye’s chief executive.

France regards British Steel’s operations there as a strategic activity because it supplies the railway company SNCF, and said last week four bidders had expressed interest in buying that unit.

Jingye indicated it still hoped to buy the French operations at Hayange. “It is still subject to further negotiations with the relevant authorities in France and is hoped to be concluded separately,” the statement said.

Jingye will invest approximately US$1.5 billion in the business. Initiatives include the development of an electric-arc furnace (EAF) in Teesside; The construction of a new 250-MW power plant to serve the Scunthorpe site; Investment in the rolling mills to produce high-quality steel products; The construction of a new rebar line and enhancing the current rail mill.

Assets included in the transaction include British Steel’s steelworks at Scunthorpe and other UK mills at Teesside and Skinningrove, as well as subsidiary businesses FN Steel in the Netherlands and TSP Engineering.