Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Three Firms in Talks with View to Buy the Whole of British Steel; Preferred Bidder to Be Announced in a Matter of Days

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Three Firms in Talks with View to Buy the Whole of British Steel; Preferred Bidder to Be Announced in a Matter of Days

Article excerpt

Byline: ALEX METCALFE Local democracy reporter alex.metcalfe@reachplc.com @Mecs_LDR

positive.

"Bidders are impressed with THREE steel-making firms are in the running to take over British Steel as a whole - with an announcement on the preferred bidder expected in a matter of days.

Talks and negotiations have continued for months over the fate of the firm which went into liquidation in May and employs about 700 people at Lackenby and Skinningrove.

With thousands more jobs in the supply chain, Teesside MPs, union leaders and Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen have also been part of talks to try to find a buyer for the troubled firm.

A conference yesterday confirmed three steel-making firms are now in the running to take on British Steel as a whole - with an announcement expected in the "coming days" on an "exclusive agreement" with the preferred bidder.

A timeline has also been drawn up if all goes to plan - with "six to eight weeks" of due diligence on the chosen firm to double check it is up to scratch to take on the troubled firm.

Mr Houchen said: "This is not a done deal, and work still needs to be done, but things are looking British Steel's order book, its workforce, and the overall potential for the business.

"As with all updates, no job losses have been announced, none are planned, and workers are still being paid on time and in full thanks to a government-backed indemnity which is bankrolling the company.

"I want to take this opportunity to thank the workforce and their families for their patience during this uncertain time.

"The situation is looking increasingly positive and I would ask everyone to keep the faith, keep positive, and prove to bidders that this company does have a strong future."

Last month, potential buyers eyeing up British Steel assets visited Teesside to see what was on offer.

Mr Houchen told Teesside council leaders "genuinely credible bidders" were through to the final stage to take on British Steel at the latest meeting of the Tees Valley Combined Authority. …

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