British Steel

  1. BreakingProduction paused at British Steel in Skinningrove

    Richard Moss

    Political Editor, BBC Look North

    British Steel is pausing production at its plant in Skinningrove in Teesside for at least three weeks.

    Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen says the company has told him there will be no job losses, with staff expected to be furloughed.

    The sites at Lackenby and Darlington are not affected by the announcement.

    A fall in demand at Skinningrove is said to be the crucial factor behind the move.

  2. Steel takeover backed by union as jobs saved

    BBC Radio Tees

    Unions have been giving their reaction to the deal by Chinese firm Jingye Group to buy British Steel.

    The takeover will save more than 3,000 jobs on Teesside and in Scunthorpe, although about 450 people still face the axe.

    Alun Davies, national organiser for the Community Union which represents steelworkers, said: "We're just glad to see some stability at the plants and the majority of employees are now safe and have got some structure to their lives.

    "They've been on hold for the last 10 months. We just want the steel industry in the UK to be successful."

    Jingye Group has promised to invest about £1.2bn over the next 10 years on upgrading its plants and machinery.

    A steelworker
  3. Chinese company agrees deal for British Steel

    David MacMillan

    BBC Tees

    A Chinese company has agreed to buy British Steel, in a move that could safeguard hundreds of jobs on Teesside.

    British Steel was put into liquidation last May because of funding concerns.

    The Jingye Group's £50m deal will see them acquire the main British Steel plant at Scunthorpe, and its sites in Lackenby and Skinningrove which employ 700 people.

    The Chinese firm is planning to invest £1.2bn in British Steel, but the Community Union is warning around 400 people face losing their jobs.

    The leader of Redcar and Cleveland council Mary Lannigan says while it's encouraging that a deal is "in sight" not all the workers have been given job offers at this moment.

    Redcar and Cleveland Council says it is ready to support anyone who loses their job with training opportunities and advice available at the employment hubs in Skinningrove and Grangetown.

  4. British Steel to benefit from HS2

    Steelworker

    British Steel could be one of the beneficiaries of HS2, says logistics expert Dr Jonathan Owens, of the University of Salford Business School.

    “HS2 needs about 170 tonnes of long product rail and switch, which can be made in British Steel Scunthorpe," he said.

    "Therefore, it would make sense for this plant to be the main supplier for the project. Buying raw material from overseas is a waste of time, money and effort, as well as increasing the supply chain cost by up to 30%."

    He said now the deal was confirmed, it could make British Steel more appealing to potential Chinese buyer Jingye, which has been stalling on a deal negotiated last November.

  5. French threat over British Steel buyout deal

    The sale of British Steel could be scuppered by French intervention.

    Chinese firm Jingye agreed in November to buy the collapsed business, which has a plant in Scunthorpe, for £50m and save about 4,000 jobs.

    British Steel plant in Scunthorpe

    But, the deal requires French government approval because British Steel also has a plant in France that is considered a strategic national asset.

    Now French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire has threatened to veto the deal, as first reported by Sky News.

    The Anglo-French row centres on the Hayange factory, which supplies the French railway network, including state-owned train operator SNCF.

    However, the UK government remains hopeful that the sale can still be completed and talks to seal the deal are ongoing.

    A spokesperson for the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy said: "Like any sale of this nature, there are a number of regulatory steps that need to be taken over the coming weeks before the sale can complete.

    "The deal with Jingye is very much on track and we expect that the transaction will complete in the coming weeks.”

  6. British Steel: 'Widespread unease about China's ambitions'

    Simon Jack

    BBC Business Editor

    British Steel-owned plant at France's Hayange
    Image caption: The British Steel-owned plant at France's Hayange is a major supplier to SNCF

    Government sources confirm that the French finance minister Bruno Le Maire has indicated to the Chancellor Sajid Javid that he is opposed to Chinese ownership of what the French consider strategically important assets.

    As a major supplier of steel to state-owned rail company SNCF, British Steel's plant at Hayange falls into that category.

    The French position is different to that of the UK government despite the fact that British Steel is a major supplier to state owned Network Rail.

    Sources within the steel industry also confirm knowledge of the French objections.

    There is also widespread unease within the UK steel industry of the scale of Chinese ambitions within the UK.

    Jingye’s ambitions to significantly increase production at Scunthorpe along with the acquisition a week ago of UK steel trading company Stemcor have caused alarm among other steel producers at the increasing penetration of Chinese interests in an important primary industry.

    French objections were widely anticipated and a process carve out the plant from the rest of British Steel if necessary has been underway for several months.

    The government remains hopeful that the deal with Jingye can still be completed and talks to seal that deal are ongoing.

    But selling the profit-making French business separately is thought to make the overall deal less attractive to Jingye and for that reason, a deal with Turkish group Cengiz has been lined up as a potential fall back option if the deal with Jingye collapses.

  7. Jingye 'intend to reduce' British Steel headcount

    A steelworker

    Chinese firm Jingye came forward to rescue British Steel, paying about £50m to take over the collapsed business.

    The deal has now received backing from trade unions, including Community, Unite the union and GMB.

    In a joint statement, they said discussions with the Chinese industrial firm had been "extremely challenging", but acknowledged that "if the business is to survive, change is required".

    They also said that Jingye intends to reduce overall headcount at British Steel, with up to 500 jobs at risk.

    They added: "This is not something that the unions could endorse and we have consistently made the argument that the business needs to ensure the plant can be run efficiently and safely."

    Earlier this week, the government said it "believes the Jingye transaction will complete in the coming weeks."

  8. Government confirms talks with British Steel bidders

    British Steel's main operation is in Scunthorpe
    Image caption: British Steel's main operation is in Scunthorpe

    The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has now responded to the story that the government is lining up a backup bid for British Steel in case its sale to Jingye falls through (see earlier story).

    A BEIS spokesperson said: “Officials have met and continue to meet all parties interested in acquiring British Steel as the Government is not party to the exclusivity agreement signed by the bidder and the official receiver.

    "The Government believes the Jingye transaction will complete in the coming weeks.”

  9. UK 'holds talks with British Steel rival bidder'

    steel

    The government is lining up a backup bid for British Steel in case its sale to Jingye falls through, the Guardian reports.

    It's holding talks with Turkish conglomerate Cengiz Holdings, despite confidence the £50m bid from the Chinese firm will go through, according to the paper.

    A spokesperson for for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy wouldn't comment on whether discussions had taken place.