The future of British Steel has been thrown into doubt following news that the British Government, which is currently running the business, has failed to agree terms with the Turkish company Ataer Holding. As a result, the exclusivity given to Ataer has now been lifted and the process of finding a buyer for the beleagured steelmaker is open to bidders.
British Steel was put into compulsory liquidation back in May after rescue talks between the government and the steelmaker's private equity owner, Greybull Capital, broke down and there was a very real prospect of 5,000 jobs being directly at risk, along with a further 20,000 in the supply chain.
According to a report by the BBC, Ataer owns almost 50% of Erdemir, Turkey's biggest steel producer, and is also the investment vehicle of Oyak, the Turkish Armed Forces Assistance Fund, which is basically the pension fund for the armed forces.
Following US President Trump's recent decision to pull-out from Northern Syria – and Turkey's subsequent 'military crossing' or invasion of Kurdish-held parts of the region – the British Government has voiced concerns about Ataer's links with the Turkish Government and opened up to other interested parties.
One big UK player and contender is Sanjeev Gupta's Liberty House. The company already owns steelmaking facilities in Rotherham and Stocksbridge in South Yorkshire, UK where it employs 5,500 people across 30 sites.
Other potential buyers include the Chinese company Jingye.
A quick sale is need, according to the Official Receiver and local Labour MP Nic Dakin says that British Steel is a strong business, 'which is reflected by the continued interest of a number of parties in buying British Steel'.