Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Jobs Saved with Chinese Deal to Buy British Steel

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Jobs Saved with Chinese Deal to Buy British Steel

Article excerpt

Byline: Graemewhitfield Business editor graeme.whitfield@reachplc.com @Graemewhitfield

HUNDREDS of jobs in the North East have been saved after the completion of a deal to buy British Steel.

Chinese firm Jingye Group has signed the deal with the Official Receiver to take on the company, which has been bankrolled by the Government since it was placed in compulsory liquidation last May.

It means 3,200 jobs will be secured in Scunthorpe and Teesside, as well as thousands more in the supply chain.

Around 700 people work for British Steel at its plants in Lackenby and Skinningrove, on Teesside. Up to 500 jobs are understood to have been lost as a slimmed-down workforce emerges, with most of the cuts thought to be at Scunthorpe.

The losses have been mitigated by Barrett Steel taking on more than 100 employees after it acquired four metals centres, including one at Blaydon, Gateshead.

The completion of the deal comes with a PS1.2bn investment pledge from the Chinese firm, as it seeks to make the business thrive once more, with a sustainable future in the UK.

That package includes the development of an electric arc furnace on Teesside.

Jingye Group CEO, Li Huiming, said: "It has not been an easy journey since we first announced our intentions in November but the longer I have spent in Scunthorpe, the more I have come to believe in the successful future of these steelworks and the employees that have made them famous throughout the world.

"Together, we can forge a new partnership that will mark the beginning of a new illustrious chapter in the history of British steelmaking."

British Steel CEO Ron Deelen said: "This is a momentous day for our business, and I'd like to thank everyone for their dedication during a challenging year. I'm confident we'll seize the incredible opportunity Jingye have given us to build on 150 years of heritage, and further cement British Steel's reputation as a manufacturer of world-class steel."

Business Secretary Alok Sharma also welcomed the deal, saying: "The sale of British Steel represents an important vote of confidence in the UK's steel industry. …

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