Doubts Raised Over Chinese Rescue Plan for British Steel

A Chinese conglomerate’s rescue plan for Britain’s second-biggest steelmaker has been met by doubts from unions and industry insiders who question the buyer’s motives and business logic, the Financial Times reported. Jingye Group, a privately owned Chinese group whose interests span hotels, property, tourism and chemicals alongside steelmaking, agreed to buy British Steel from the UK’s Insolvency Service. The deal — at a price of just £50m, according to people briefed on the negotiations — could save up to 4,000 jobs and has sparked hopes of a revival for the vast Scunthorpe steel plant in Lincolnshire, one of the UK’s two remaining blast furnace works. Before the acquisition the Chinese company had said it was not buying British Steel simply to sell it again at a profit, but was in it for the long haul, pledging to cut costs and ramp up production from 2.5m tonnes per year to more than 3m, according to a presentation by the group seen by the Financial Times. Read more