Thamesteel plant sold to Saudi-based owner's 'new firm'

Workers leaving the meeting with Thamesteel's administrators More than 350 workers lost their jobs when the company went into administration in January

A steelworks on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent has been sold out of administration to a new firm set up by its Saudi-based owners.

More than 350 people lost their jobs when Thamesteel in Sheerness went into administration in January.

Accountancy firm Mazars said it had "been sold out of administration to a new company owned by the Al-Tuwairqi Group (ATG)".

ATG bought the plant in 2002 when its previous owners went into liquidation.

Conservative MP for Sittingbourne and Sheppey, Gordon Henderson, said: "One question that has to be asked, as a member of Parliament I have to ask these questions of course, is if the parent company can now make it profitable why did it call in the administrator in the first place?

"Today is not a day for those questions. Today is [a day] to say if we can secure even only 50 jobs, 60 jobs, 100 jobs then that's good news."

Start Quote

This is one bit of good news in what has been an incredibly gloomy economic situation”

End Quote Paul Maloney

Lead administrator Rod Weston said "This sale is very good news for Sheerness. It concludes what has been a long and painful process for all involved.

"At many points we feared the eventual outcome might be very bleak for the future of steel production on the island.

"However, after several false dawns, we have secured a sale to the only bidder to come forward with the intention of restarting production at the plant."

Michael Leahy, general secretary of the Community Union, said: "This is fantastic news for our members who have been campaigning since the closure in January.

Crisis jargon buster
Use the dropdown for easy-to-understand explanations of key financial terms:
AAA-rating
The best credit rating that can be given to a borrower's debts, indicating that the risk of borrowing defaulting is minuscule.

"We fought a long, hard campaign taking our Save our Steel message right to the heart of government and winning the backing of the local community on the Isle of Sheppey.

"It is a moment for our members to feel proud of their efforts and overcoming the challenges they have faced in recent months before we look forward to a renewed partnership with the new owners so we can bring steelmaking and jobs back to Sheerness."

The sale has also been welcomed by the GMB union.

Paul Maloney, national officer of the GMB, said: "This is one bit of good news in what has been an incredibly gloomy economic situation.

"We will do everything we can to ensure the new operation is a success."

More on This Story

Related Stories

From other news sites

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

BBC Kent

Weather

Canterbury

13 °C 9 °C

Features & Analysis

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • FutureThe future is now

    Get the latest updates and biggest ideas from BBC Future’s World-Changing Ideas Summit

Programmes

  • St John's, CanadaThe Travel Show Watch

    It’s a ships’ symphony – listen to these freighters in Canada play music with their horns

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.