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British Steel gives staff 5% stake in firm

Steel worker cutting metal Image copyright Steve Morgan/British Steel
Image caption British Steel said it wanted to reward its staff "for their efforts during the last 12 months"

British Steel is celebrating its first anniversary by giving its 4,800-strong workforce a 5% stake in the company.

The Scunthorpe-based company said it would be dividing a million shares between all of its employees, except contractors and agency workers, because it had delivered consistent profits.

Further shares will be given out on an annual basis in June.

Staff also returned to full pay after sacrificing 3% of their salary for Tata's sale of the venture to Greybull.

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The business has reported a £47m profit a year after its launch and said it had "significantly improved" profitability despite a 44% increase in the cost of raw materials.

About 500 workers have been recruited during its "remarkable" transformation, it said.

Image copyright Steve Morgan/British Steel
Image caption The firm produces more than 2.8m tonnes of steel a year

Managing director Paul Martin said: "Every one of our employees has contributed to the turnaround of this business - they are the foundation of our recent achievements and, just as importantly, they are critical to our future.

"It is therefore important that we not only reward them for their efforts during the last 12 months but, as we move forward and grow the business further, they continue to share in any ongoing success."

Those on fixed-term contracts and apprentices would be exempt from receiving any shares and staff who leave the company are required to relinquish their stake.

It was "totally separate from the bonus scheme and does not replace it", the company said.

Paul McBean, multi-union chairman at British Steel's Scunthorpe headquarters, said he "warmly" welcomed the move.

"They have helped transform the company and it is fantastic to see they will share in the success we are starting to see," he said.

Image copyright Steve Morgan/British Steel
Image caption The company, based in Scunthorpe, also has sites in Cumbria, North Yorkshire, Teesside and France

British Steel said it had invested £39m in the business in the last financial year.

Investment firm Greybull bought the business - which had suffered losses of £79m in the previous financial year - a year ago and renamed it British Steel.

It has supplied 57km (35 miles) of rail track for the £16bn Crossrail project in London.

Tata announced the sale of its plant in April 2016, with the move safeguarding nearly 5,000 jobs.

For the deal to be sealed, workers accepted a pay cut and less generous pension arrangements.

British Steel also has sites in Cumbria, North Yorkshire, Teesside and France.

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