After 100 days of trading, newly formed steel manufacturer British Steel claims that it has hit key targets and is on track to return to profit for the financial year ending March 2017.
At a packed press conference held at its integrated steel works in Scunthorpe, United Kingdom, senior executives from the business told journalists that things were certainly looking up and that the company is active across a number of markets including automotive, construction, energy and power, lifting and excavation, defence and security, rail infrastructure and consumer goods.
Launched on 1 June this year, British Steel is claiming to be ‘well on course to complete its return to sustainable growth, after successfully implementing the first stages of its turnaround plan.’
The company claims that £50 million of capital investments has been earmarked for this financial year and is focused on several major projects designed to improve competitiveness and broaden the company’s customer offering. These include a £7 million investment in the replacement of gasholders; a £10 million cash injection into efficiency improvements at the company’s Appleby coke ovens and by-products facilities; a £4.2 million upgrade of the Scunthorpe Basic Oxygen Steelmaking plant; and a £1 million investment at Hayange in France involving the plant’s new main drive armature.
British Steel has invested heavily in its workforce with 48 new apprenticeships and 80 former agency workers being given full-time contracts. Some 17 graduates and 16 undergraduates have joined the company as full-time employees and on placement schemes respectively; and seven degree apprentices have gained university qualifications alongside practical experience.
British Steel executive chairman, Roland Junck, said the company was now better placed to capitalise on its strong heritage, vastly experienced and skilled workforce and world class products. He said that the company was engaged in ‘constructive dialogue’ with the Government over support strategies for British Steel and to ensure that a level playing field is achieved.
“…any such strategy must be long-term and cross all political divides if it is to achieve the goals we all share,” he said.
Key British Steel customers, like Network Rail, which claims that 98% of the rail it lays in the UK is manufactured from steel made at the Scunthorpe steel plant, said he had great confidence in the UK steel industry. “We’re very happy to be using rail made by highly-skilled workers at British Steel,” Mark Carne, the company’s chief executive, said.