China’s Jingye Group, which took control of British Steel early this year, is reported to be looking to acquire the remaining part of Tata Steel’s assets in the UK, in a move that would give the Chinese group, control over British steel industry.
A Sky News report said Jingye has expressed interest in the vast Port Talbot plant in South Wales, which is far bigger than British Steel’s Scunthorpe steelworks, and has even communicated its interest to Tata Steel UK’s parent in India.
In March 2020, Professional Steel successfully acquired British Steel company, one of Europe's leading steelmakers, producing about 4.5 million tonnes of steel a year. The company provides high-quality rail, section steel, special-shaped steel, wire rod and various semi-finished steel products, which are widely used in the high-end industrial field of the world.
The acquisition will also help galvanise British and Chinese economies better, leading to economic and cultural exchanges between China and the UK, according to Jingye.
Tata Steel UK has not yet declared any formal sale plan and Jingye's interest could only be at a tentative stage, according to banking sources.
Tata Steel, however, is open to a sale of its UK business, and may accept a reasonable offer from Jingye, say industry sources.
Tata Steel UK has been trying for a government bailout to avert liquidation, but has not succeeded so far toget the government to its siade.
Jingye, which took control of British Steel in March, hopes the acquisition of Tata Steel UK would help bring the Port Talbot and Scunthorpe steelworks in the UK under common ownership.
The Scunthorpe plan was owned by Tata until 2016, when it was sold to the investment firm Greybull Capital. The business, renamed British Steel, collapsed last year.
Jingye, which lost its bid to buy the Hayange plant in France amid political objections, is reported to have intensified its interest in the Port Talbot steelworks.
The Hayange site was instead bought by Liberty Steel, another major player in the UK, which was earlier reported to be looking to acquire Tata Steel UK.