Turkey’s military pension fund has reached a tentative deal to buy British Steel out of insolvency.
The Turkish Armed Forces Assistance Fund (known as Oyak) says it plans to take over British Steel, which employs 5,000 people, by the end of the year.
British Steel owns the Scunthorpe steel works where 3,000 people work and it employs another 800 on Teesside.
But the firm was put into compulsory liquidation in May after rescue talks with the government broke down.
Another 20,000 jobs in the supply chain were put at risk by the collapse of the talks between the government and British Steel’s owner, Greybull, prompting a parliamentary inquiry.
The company was transferred to the Official Receiver because British Steel, its shareholders and the government were not able to, or would not, support the business.
The Official Receiver said it had received a “several” bids for the firm but described Ataer, Oyak’s investment arm, as its “preferred buyer”.
“Following discussions with a number of potential purchasers for the British Steel group over the past few weeks I am pleased to say I have now received an acceptable offer from Ataer,” the Official Receiver said, adding that the focus was now on finalising the sale.
“I will be looking to conclude this process in the coming weeks, during which time British Steel continues to trade and supply its customers as normal,” the Official Receiver said.
“I would like to thank all employees, suppliers and customers for their continued support which has been essential to get to this point.”
Ataer’s accountants have exclusive rights to the insolvent firm’s books, so that they can examine the state of its finances.
Ataer owns nearly 50% of Erdemir, Turkey’s biggest steel producer.