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Jingye Steel has entered into a deal to buy British Steel, which had previously agreed to be sold to a buyer—Oyak, a Turkish army pension fund—that later dropped its offer because the operations were not commercially viable.

Per published reports, China’s Jingye Steel, via its U.K. operations, has entered into a contract to buy British Steel. British Steel’s Official Receiver and others part of the process, confirmed that contracts have been entered into with Jingye Steel (UK) Ltd. and Jingye Steel (UK) Holding Ltd., to acquire the business and assets of British Steel Limited in liquidation, including the steelworks at Scunthorpe and U.K. mills and the subsidiary businesses of FN Steel, British Steel France and TSP Engineering.

The deal has yet to be finalized, and is conditional on items that include regulatory approvals and certain employee consultation procedures. “The parties are working together to conclude a sale as soon as reasonably practicable...and the business will continue to trade as normal, during the period between exchange and completion, whilst assisting Jingye to plan for the future.”

Per the reports, Jingye is a privately owned Chinese corporation founded and led by Li Ganpo a former senior Communist Party official who became a self-made industrial tycoon. His Jingye Group has interests in steel and manufacturing, chemicals, real estate, finance, trade, pharmaceutical, hotels and tourism. It has more than 22,000 employees.

Briish Steel, which includes wire rod in its product mix, was described as Britain’s second largest steelmaker after Tata Steel. The steelmaker was put into liquidation in May, years after being acquired by private equity firm Greybull Capital LLP for 1 pound.

The offer from Oyak has been reported as having been between $73 million and $85 million. At one point, Oyak had told The Guardian that it was considering doubling the production capacity of British Steel.

The Turkish Armed Forces Assistance Fund, known as OYAK, has entered a deal through its Ataer Holding subsidiary, to acquire British Steel by the end of the year.

Per multiple media reports, OYAK signed an exclusive agreement on Aug. 16 to buy British Steel, which has some 5,000 employees and represents about a third of the U.K.’s steel production. The company's product lines include wire rod. The price was not disclosed, but several reports cited a figure of £70 million.

British Steel has operations in the U.K. that include the Scunthorpe steel works where 3,000 people work, and it employs another 800 in Teesside. Per a BBC report, those sites "are a major strategic asset to our country," said Gareth Stace, general secretary of UK Steel, a trade association.

The government’s Official Receiver said several bids had been received, and described the one from Ataer, Oyak’s investment arm, as its "preferred buyer," the BBC report said. It cited the Official Receiver as saying that, "I am pleased to say I have now received an acceptable offer from Ataer. ... I will be looking to conclude this process in the coming weeks, during which time British Steel continues to trade and supply its customers as normal."

Ataer owns nearly 50% of Erdemir, Turkey’s biggest steel producer, which employs 11,530 people.

Per a report in The Guardian, Oyak has told the U.K. government that "it wants to inject £900 million into the Scunthorpe steelworks to more than double its output."

A Platt report cited the following comments. "We, as OYAK, Turkey’s largest professional pension fund, believe in the importance of merging world league players into our group," said OYAK General Manager Süleyman Savas Erdem." Accordingly, we have achieved one of the biggest achievements of the Turkish steel industry and signed a preliminary agreement to buy the industrial giant of UK, British Steel. We will continue to evaluate opportunities globally inline with our growth-oriented vision and we will continue our investments to provide sustainable high benefit to our members.

 

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