British Steel is investing £100 million in the business with an emphasis on scrap and sustainability. The owners Jingye Group say the UK division, which was taken over a year ago, has returned to profit.
The new money will help finance projects including include, a scrap pre-heating facility, a new billet caster, cranes and a new environmental emission control system. Jingye Group ceo Li Huiming says: ‘We’re committed to building a long-term future for British Steel and, thanks to the hard work and diligence of our new colleagues, the business is now on a more sustainable footing.
‘Their skill and dedication has enabled British Steel to maintain safe iron and steel production throughout the pandemic, ensuring customers’ requirements were – and continue to be – fulfilled. British Steel’s people and products are the reason Jingye is investing with such confidence.”
British Steel is said to have achieved ‘significant operational improvements’ over the past 12 months, launched new products, introduced 24-7 operations at its Teesside and Skinningrove mills and resumed operational control of Immingham Bulk Terminal.
Li adds: ‘Moving into profitability was a significant milestone for the new business but we’re only at the start of our journey and still have many challenges to overcome, such as the exceptionally high raw material prices.’
British Steel has also confirmed that its ceo Ron Deelen will step down from his role at the end of March this year, although he will continue to work closely with the business and Jingye.
Deelen says: ‘With British Steel back in profit and starting to build a sustainable future, now is the time to pursue a new challenge. Jingye have proven themselves to be caring and responsible owners and I look forward to supporting them, and British Steel, on the next step of their journey together.’
President Xijun Cao will also assume the ceo role at the beginning of April.
Meanwhile, the opposition Labour Party in the UK has suggested the troubled Liberty Steel be taken into public ownership. The future of the parent global GFG Alliance was thrown into doubt in when group’s key lender, the specialist bank Greensill Capital went into administration on 8 March. Liberty Steel is the UK’s third biggest steel maker with 12 plants including those at Rotherham, Motherwell, Stocksbridge, Newport and Hartlepool.
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