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British Steel Hayange Mill in France up for Sale Separately - Reports

Steel News - Published on Fri, 06 Dec 2019

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British media reported that Chinese buyers of British Steel Jingye has reportedly been left furious as it emerged that British Steel’s French factory is for sale separately from the rest of the company. The deal included all of British Steel’s assets, covering subsidiaries such as the Hayange mill in northern France, which produces rail for train lines. However, the Financial Times reported that a new process is underway to find a buyer for the factory, which is a strategic industrial asset for the French government, meaning it can grant or withhold approval for any change of ownership. The new sale process has been undertaken as contingency planning in case the Jingye deal fell through. Jingye said “Jingye Group has submitted a request to the French authorities for approval of our investment and has been engaged in constructive discussions with the French government.”

Last week adverts in the Financial Times and French financial daily Les Echos were spotted offering the sale of an unnamed steel rail production business of about 450 people in northern France. Sources confirmed to the Financial Times that the site in question was indeed the Hayange plant. The plant makes steel for the French rail network, including the state-owned train operator SNCF, and is considered a strategic asset.

The GMB union expressed concern at the new development. National officer Ross Murdoch said: "GMB will be seeking assurances from Jingye that they seek to keep the business complete. We'll also be seeking commitments from Jingye that their business plan is robust enough to withstand any proposed split and that there is no danger of the deal for the UK sites being scuppered, should the French government decide to withdraw their approval."

Last month China’s Jingye struck a deal to buy the whole of the collapsed manufacturer, with the firm to pay about GBP 50 million to take over the business, saving 4,000 jobs in the process.

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Posted By : Rabi Wangkhem on Fri, 06 Dec 2019
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