Jingye nears British Steel purchase

China’s Jingye Steel expects to complete the purchase of British Steel by the end of February, Kallanish learns from a source close to the deal. The company’s senior leadership aims to spend the New Year at the end of this week with the British Steel team in Scunthorpe.

Jingye Steel executives were touring British Steel’s facilities, including those in France and the Netherlands, this week to finalise the nuts and bolts of a deal. That includes concluding an agreement with the unions on Tuesday, Kallanish understands. The only agreement outstanding is one with the French government. The company expects to finalise the French government’s approval shortly, the source says.

Jingye Chairman Li Ganpo is expected to arrive in Scunthorpe on Thursday in time to celebrate the Chinese New Year at the plant. Jingye has had a large team of around 80, including around 40 engineers, based in Scunthorpe conducting due diligence and developing investment plans for the plants for over a month. Due diligence has covered all British Steel facilities, including sales offices as well as production facilities. This week, Jingye also began placing orders for specific equipment that it intends to order to begin upgrading the plants, the source says, without revealing the equipment purchased.

Jingye became the frontrunner to buy British Steel after an agreement with Turkey’s Ataer went cold in late 2019. Jingye will be buying the company from the UK Official receiver after British Steel went into bankruptcy proceedings in 2019.