Jingye Steel has entered into a deal to buy British Steel, which had previously agreed to be sold to a buyer—Oyak, a Turkish army pension fund—that later dropped its offer because the operations were not commercially viable.
Per published reports, China’s Jingye Steel, via its U.K. operations, has entered into a contract to buy British Steel. British Steel’s Official Receiver and others part of the process, confirmed that contracts have been entered into with Jingye Steel (UK) Ltd. and Jingye Steel (UK) Holding Ltd., to acquire the business and assets of British Steel Limited in liquidation, including the steelworks at Scunthorpe and U.K. mills and the subsidiary businesses of FN Steel, British Steel France and TSP Engineering.
The deal has yet to be finalized, and is conditional on items that include regulatory approvals and certain employee consultation procedures. “The parties are working together to conclude a sale as soon as reasonably practicable...and the business will continue to trade as normal, during the period between exchange and completion, whilst assisting Jingye to plan for the future.”
Per the reports, Jingye is a privately owned Chinese corporation founded and led by Li Ganpo a former senior Communist Party official who became a self-made industrial tycoon. His Jingye Group has interests in steel and manufacturing, chemicals, real estate, finance, trade, pharmaceutical, hotels and tourism. It has more than 22,000 employees.
Briish Steel, which includes wire rod in its product mix, was described as Britain’s second largest steelmaker after Tata Steel. The steelmaker was put into liquidation in May, years after being acquired by private equity firm Greybull Capital LLP for 1 pound.
The offer from Oyak has been reported as having been between $73 million and $85 million. At one point, Oyak had told The Guardian that it was considering doubling the production capacity of British Steel.