LONDON – British finance minister Jeremy Hunt is close to agreeing a 300 million pound ($370 million) funding package for steel producer British Steel, Sky News reported on Friday citing sources, a bailout it said could avert thousands of job losses.
The government said in October that it was in negotiations with steel makers to help secure the industry’s long-term future, adding that British Steel had agreed to maintain current operations and job numbers while the talks were underway.
The Treasury did not immediately respond to Reuters request for a comment.
Sky reported Hunt had been advised by officials to approve a request from British Steel for public money which would see it handed around 300 million pounds in installments over the next few years.
It cited one person close to the situation as saying the funding would be conditional on British Steel’s Chinese owner, Jingye Group, investing at least 1 billion pounds in the business by 2030 and making commitments on job retention.
The funding would also be linked to a project to replace British Steel’s blast furnaces at its Scunthorpe site with a greener electric arc furnace, Sky reported.
($1 = 0.8098 pounds)