History of new British Steel.

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History of new British Steel History of new British Steel

After a brief period of ownership under Greybull Capital, selected European long product assets of Tata Steel were sold to Jingye Group in 2020, and rebranded as British Steel. The timeline below covers the history of the newly-relaunched British Steel.

  • 2015: Klesch talks on purchase of Tata long products business fail.
  • 2016: British Steel acquired in 2016 by Greybull Capital.
  • 2017: Reborn British Steel returns to profit.
  • 2019: Company makes plea for £120m loan from UK government.
  • 2019: British Steel enters compulsory liquidation in May.
  • 2019: French rail mill at Hayange offered for sale.
  • 2020: British Steel purchased by Jingye Group in March.
  • 2020: New Chinese owner seeks £100m state loan from UK government.
  • 2021: Jingye plans to invest up to £1.2bn on BF steelmaking put on hold.
  • 2022: Requests financial assistance from UK government to prevent job losses.
  • 2023: Seeks government support to keep BFs at Scunthorpe operational.
  • 2023: Contemplates closure of coke ovens at Scunthorpe.
  • 2023: Workers stage London protests; call for greater government support.
  • 2023: Announces plan for investment in two EAFs and BF closure by 2025.
  • 2024: Resignation of auditor raises viability concerns.

  • 1999: Corus itself was was formed through the merger of British Steel and Holland's Koninklijke Hoogovens
  • 2015: Talks fail between US billionaire Gary Klesch and Tata Steel over the purchase of Tata Steel's long product business. Klesch blamed the failure of the talks on rising UK energy prices and on cheap imports from China.
  • 2016: British Steel was created in 2016 when Greybull Capital, owned by the Meyohas brothers, bought the long products business of Tata Steel Europe (formerly Corus) for a nominal £1, rebranding the business with the old British Steel name. Greybull Capital itself was a private investment company that specialised in medium- to long-term investments in UK companies. It was incorporated as a limited liability partnership in April 2010.
  • 2017: Whilst the 2015-2016 financial year saw a loss of £79 million, British Steel produced a profit of £47 million before tax in 2016-2017.
  • 2019: Plea for GBP £120m UK government loan was to plug a shortfall in carbon credits owed to the European Commission for carbon emissions.
  • 2019: British Steel was placed into compulsory liquidation in May 2019, putting 5,000 jobs at risk and endangering 20,000 in the supply chain. This move followed a breakdown in the rescue talks between the UK government and the company's owner, Greybull.
  • 2019: Ataer Holdings, the investment division of Oyak, Turkey's military pension fund (and owner of Turkey's Erdemir and Isdemir steel plants) entered into discussions to buy British Steel in August 2019. However, no acquisition deal was agreed before a ten-week exclusivity period ended in late October. Ataer's withdrawal in October opened the door for Jingye, a Chinese steelmaker, to commence purchase discussions with the Official Receiver in November 2019.
  • 2019: Jingye Steel, otherwise known as the Hebei Jingye Group Co Limited, was founded in 1996. The company produces heavy plate, hot rolled coil and deformed steel bar (rebar). It is owned by its Chairman Li Ganpo, and in 2018 the firm produced 11.25 million tonnes of liquid steel and ranked #37 steelmaker in the world.
  • 2019: French rail plant at Hayange (the former Sogerail plant) supplied steel rail for the French rail network, including the state-owned train operator SNCF, and was considered a strategic asset. Semi-finished steel in the form of bloom for the production of rail at Hayange was understood to have been supplied from Scunthorpe.
  • 2020: Purchase consideration from Chinese conglomerate Jingye was GBP £50 million. The purchase was not conditional on Jingye's purchase of Hayange, whose future ownership remained in doubt at the time of Jingye's purchase. New Chinese owner undertook to invest £1.2 billion in British Steel during the next decade, and offered employment contracts to ~3200 former British Steel staff. Assets purchased by Jingye included the steelworks at Scunthorpe, the Teesside Beam Mill, the Skinningrove special sections mill, as well as subsidiary businesses FN Steel ( supplier of wire rod) in the Netherlands and TSP Engineering in Workington, UK. A number of British Steel distribution centres were not acquired by the new Chinese owner; these facilities were purchased by Bradford-based Barrett Steel immediately upon the sale of British Steel to Jingye. The distribution centres includes former British Steel Metal Centre sites in Wolverhampton, Dartford, Newcastle and Scunthorpe, alongside offices in Cheadle and Edinburgh. Jingye £1.2 billion investment plan apparently included investment in a new electric arc furnace in Teesside and construction of a new 250MW power plant in Scunthorpe; and possibly also the modernisation of the Scunthorpe rod mill.
  • 2020: The new Chinese owner of British Steel was said to be seeking another £100m of taxpayer support less than three months after completing its takeover of the insolvent Scunthorpe-based firm.
  • 2021: Press reports indicated that Jingye plans for investment in British Steel had apparently been stalled by potential blast furnace legislation. The specific concern relates to laws that may curb blast-furnace based steelmaking in the UK around 2035.
  • 2022: Grant Shapps, UK business secretary, held talks with Jingye in December 2022 just as the threat of redundancies loomed over the UK steelmaker. Jingye, which had begun making preparations for the permanent closure one of the firm's two blast furnaces, was seeking state aid to help with the cost of decarbonising its steel manufacturing process.
  • 2023: Discussions reportedly centred on a $300 million government grant for the Scunthorpe steel plant.
  • 2023: Decarbonisation plan wiill involve closure of the blast furnaces and basic oxygen converters at Scunthorpe, and investment in new EAFs in Scunthorpe and in Teesside.
  • 2024: British Steel's audit firm Moore Kingston Smith resigned in January 2024 because of issues relating to stock valuation. In recent weeks, British Steel has been incurring losses close to GBP £1 million / day, prompting industry concerns about the future viability of the business.

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