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British Steel buyer hopes raised

Turkish pension fund Ataer Holding enters talks over buying British Steel
Ryan Fletcher, Monday, August 12th, 2019

A Turkish pension fund is preparing to enter talks over buying British Steel with a plan to invest nearly £1bn in the firm, according to reports.


Sky News reports that Ataer Holding, which is understood to be entering negotiations to buy British Steel this week, is looking to put £900m into the firm over the course of several years.


Unite welcomed “any possibility of named buyers emerging” saying it would be seeking to meet with any new owner to reiterate the need for the retention of staff and the long-term future of British Steel.


The potential £900m investment from Ataer Holding would be in addition to a government support package for British Steel that could be as much as £300m.


The multimillion pound government package, which will include grants, loans and indemnities, was made available after the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) agreed to significantly bolster support for the steelmaker’s future owner.


A spokesperson for BEIS said, “This government will leave no stone unturned to get a good solution for British Steel at Scunthorpe, Skinningrove and on Teesside.”


British Steel, which employs 4,000 staff and has its biggest steel  manufacturing site in Scunthorpe, went into insolvency in May after the government refused to loan its then owner Greybull Capital £30m.


Since then the steelmaker, which supports more than 20,000 UK supply chain jobs, has continued to operate under the management of administrators EY.


Unite assistant general secretary for manufacturing Steve Turner said, “Once again it is disappointing that workers hear of possible changes to their employer via media rumours. This is unhelpful and only adds to the anxiety of the workforce.


“Unite has been dedicated to finding a new owner and bring some much-needed stability to British Steel and its thousands of workers.


“We therefore welcome any possibility of named buyers emerging in the near future. Our priority would be to sit down with them when they are confirmed to reiterate the investment needed to secure the retention of skilled staff in the immediate future, and the longer-term financial commitment this national asset needs to secure its lasting future.”


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