The company claims it remains on track to build a business capable of delivering sustainable growth and is on track to continue its growth through a combination of further cost efficiencies and continued investment.
The macroeconomic environment has been more challenging in recent months, driven by rising raw materials prices, particularly coking coal, iron and scrap metal, and foreign exchange fluctuations. “The business is well-placed to manage these challenges and is pursuing a proactive and responsive pricing strategy,” the company claims.
There is plenty of good news around for British Steel, namely a £2 million contract with Caledonian Modular to supply steel for accommodation blocks and a deal with Infrarail to supply 16kt of rail for the M’Sila line and the North South Phosphate mine in Algeria. Another notable rail contract is with Rete Ferroviaria Italian, Italy’s national rail track company, for track renewals.
British Steel is planning ‘significant capital expenditure’ on technology and infrastructure to improve competitiveness across its five business units: primary products, construction, rail, rods and special profiles.
Since June, British Steel has committed £39m in capital expenditure and made several significant investments including £1.8m in scale removal at its Skinningrove site.
The company continues to invest in training a new-generation of highly-skilled steelworkers with almost 350 new employees joining since 1 June last year. Graduate and placement opportunities for 2017 are generating interest from over 3,400 applicants and a total of 57 apprentices and 31 graduates will be taken on this year and 26 people will join on placements of up to 12 months. The new people will join 180 graduates, trainees and apprentices already employed by the company.
Roland Junck, British Steel’s executive chairman, said the company was building on a promising start.
“Having implemented the first stage of our turnaround plan, returning the business to profit and putting it on a sustainable footing, we are now well-positioned to implement the next stage of the plan. This will be focused on ensuring tactical growth of both our business and brand, which we see as crucial next steps in our strategy. We’re already making good progress with significant contract awards from both new and existing customers across the globe,” said Junck.
He added that maintaining momentum and building on current successes was ‘our investment for the future’ and said the company was committed to becoming more energy efficient and improving product quality.
Junck said that British Steel is uniquely placed to provide large quantities of steel for UK developments large and small. He highlighted HS2 and Heathrow as well as new schools and hospitals.
“Our employees remain fundamental to our success. Last year, they agreed to a temporary three per cent salary sacrifice including a reduction in their pension contributions. This was implemented in June 2016 and is scheduled to be re-instated on June 1 this year,” he said.
British Steel Multi-union chairman Paul McBean was encouraged to witness progress made since last June. “Our employees have shown immense support to delivering our transformation plan over the last 18 months and I know we can continue to count on their support as we enter this next phase and look to grow the business further,” he said.