British Steel's Scunthorpe site and North East facilities represent one third of UK production. © Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
British Steel's Scunthorpe site and North East facilities represent one third of UK production. © Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Turkish pension fund set to buy British Steel

20 August 2019

British Steel has announced that Ataer Holding, a subsidiary of the Turkish pension fund firm Oyak, has signed an agreement to purchase the steel manufacturer and its subsidiaries.

Following weeks of bidding the Turkish company is now in “exclusive talks” with British Steel to finalise details of the sale.

The official receiver for British Steel said last week that they “will be looking to conclude the process in the coming weeks”. 

Since its liquidation in May, British Steel has been working with the official receiver, trade associations, its supply chain, government and a support management group from British Steel to secure the status of the production facilities and operations in Scunthorpe and the North East.

Gareth Stace, director general at trade body UK Steel, said in response to the announcement: “[The] announcement is enormously positive news for British Steel, its workers, and UK manufacturing as a whole. British Steel’s production facilities in Scunthorpe and elsewhere in the North East represent one third of the UK’s steel production and are a major strategic asset to our country. Their loss would leave our manufacturing, construction and infrastructure capability in a considerably poorer state.”

The announcement is an “important stepping stone on the way to securing a sustainable future for this cornerstone of British industry,” Stace continued, warning that “government support will be critical to taking the process forward”.

The move came in the same week that UK steel released A New Deal for Steel, a manifesto that called on the government to establish new guidelines for a more sustainable and competitive steel sector. This includes increasing levels of domestically-produced steel purchased in publicly-funded infrastructure projects, and reforming business rates in line with EU competitors.

The UK produces 8m tonnes of steel a year, approximately 80% of the country’s annual requirement, and the sector employs 32,000 UK people directly and supports a further 52,300 in supply chains and local communities, according to UK Steel.

Stace added: “The UK steel sector has a potentially bright future, underpinned by increasing UK and global steel demand for our products, but the government must recognise the need to address the business environment in the UK which currently undermines our competitiveness. 

“The steel industry is ready to invest in its future in the UK. All it requires is a partnership with the government to help deliver a level playing field that can unlock its potential.”

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