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China's Jingye Group in talks to buy British Steel

China's Jingye Group in talks to buy British Steel
FILE PHOTO: A general view shows the British Steel works in Scunthorpe, Britain, May 21, 2019. REUTERS/Scott Heppell -
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Scott Heppell(Reuters)
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By Min Zhang and Barbara Lewis

BEIJING/LONDON (Reuters) – China’s Jingye Group said on Monday it is in talks to buy British Steel in a deal estimated to be worth about 70 million pounds that could help protect thousands of British jobs and ease uncertainty over the troubled steelmaker.

A deal is not yet finalised, the company told Reuters following a BBC report of an imminent 70 million pound agreement.

A spokeswoman for Hebei-based Jingye Group said she was unclear about the value of the deal and unsure whether further details would be announced this week.

Gareth Stace, director general of industry lobby group UK Steel, also told Reuters the deal was not finalised.

“I would be surprised if it did not get finalised, but it’s not a done deal,” he said.

British Steel was put into compulsory liquidation on May 22 after Greybull Capital, which bought the firm for one pound from Tata Steel <TISC.NS> three years ago, failed to secure funding to continue its operations.

Turkey’s military pension fund OYAK said in August it had reached a provisional agreement to take over British Steel but that deal has not been finalised.

(Reporting by Min Zhang in Beijing, Barbara Lewis and Kate Holton in London; editing by Guy Faulconbridge and Josephine Mason)

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