British Steel secures sales contract with China's Jingye Group

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British Steel may secure a £70m rescue package from Chinese steelmaker Jingye Group, who employs over 22,000 staff and exports steel products globally, helping the troubled United Kingdom company to keep thousands of jobs.

Jingye's spokeswoman earlier confirmed that the Chinese group's chairman was in Britain for talks.

British Steel is to be rescued by Chinese company Jingye following several weeks of discussions with a number of interested parties.

"While there remains much work still to be done, today's announcement is a huge hurdle overcome on the way to delivering a sustainable future for this cornerstone of British industry".

British Steel had been in rescue talks with Ataer, which is a subsidiary of Turkey's state military retirement scheme Oyak. The European Union, which does not include Serbia, has sought to protect its own steel industry from competition from cheap Chinese imports. The Turkish firm is said to have fallen to third place in the bidding, also behind steel baron Sanjeev Gupta, who owns the UK-based Liberty House group.

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British Steel employs about 5,000 people directly in the United Kingdom in Scunthorpe, Skinningrove and Redcar, as well supporting thousands of roles in its supply chains.

A total 4,000 British Steel staff work in the United Kingdom, with an additional 1,000 based in France and the Netherlands.

"However, there have been a series of false dawns in finding a buyer for British Steel and Unite will not be raising any false hopes without seeing detailed plans for the entire business and [until] the ink is dry on the contracts". The latter can be used as steel rope for infrastructure like suspension bridges or filaments for auto tyres to give rigidity.

Jingye employs 23,500 people and has major stakes in steel and iron making, as well as in the tourism, hospitality and property industries.

Stace added that British Steel's output, which is roughly a third of the UK's steel production, not only complements Jingye, but may also open the door for the United Kingdom steel industry to compete globally.

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