British Steel CEO resigns, OYAK’s interest unchanged

British Steel CEO Gerald Reichmann has left the company, as exclusive talks continue between the Official Receiver and preferred bidder OYAK over the sale of the UK-based steel producer, S&P Global Platts learned from a Grimsby Telegraph news report.

Ataer Holding, owned by OYAK, the biggest complementary pension fund in Turkey, has confirmed “that this does not in any way change their interest” in British Steel, according to the report. Platts couldn’t reach OYAK for comment over the weekend.

The Official Receiver’s spokesperson said about Gerald Reichmann’s resignation: “The Official Receiver is assisting the preferred bidder for British Steel to complete their due diligence and confirm its sale. The departure of the chief executive does not impact upon this process.”

As part of its regional growth ambitions in the steel industry, OYAK signed an exclusivity agreement to buy British Steel in mid-August, as Platts has reported.

According to an OYAK statement previously sent to S&P Global Platts, the handover is expected to take place at the end of 2019. “Ataer Holding owned by OYAK, with its strategic vision for British Steel, differentiated from other bidders and received exclusivity to conduct detailed financial, legal and operational review for a period of 2 months. During the exclusivity period, close negotiations to be held with customers, suppliers, employees and trade unions is significant for the future success of British Steel. After the successful completion of detailed inspection process at the end of October 2019, the handover is expected to be [held] within 2019,” 

British Steel, which went into compulsory liquidation on May 22, has about 3 million mt/year of production capacity in the UK, France and the Netherlands.

Turkish military pension fund OYAK is Ataer Holding’s parent company, which is the largest shareholder in Erdemir, the nation’s biggest steel producer.

In addition to iron and steel, OYAK has interests in sectors including cement, automotive, agriculture and energy.

— Cenk Can