British Steel is in the black for the first time since splitting with Tata

 
Courtney Goldsmith
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Chairman Roland Junck said British Steel is well positioned for further growth
Chairman Roland Junck said British Steel is well positioned for further growth (Source: British Steel)

British Steel is back in profit for the first time since its acquisition from private equity company Greybull Capital.

Tata Steel sold its long products business, including the plants in Scunthorpe and mills on Teesside, to Greybull in June after months of talks.

Now, seven months later, British Steel has ended its third quarter of 2016 in profit and said it expects profit of around £40m for the full year following a loss of £80m in the previous financial year.

“Having implemented the first stage of our turnaround plan, returning the business to profit and putting it on a sustainable footing, we are now well positioned to implement the next stage of the plan," British Steel’s executive chairman Roland Junck said.

This next stage is focused on ensuring tactical growth through contracts with new and existing customers around the globe.

So far, awarded contracts include a £2m deal with Caledonian Modular to supply steel for Hinkley Point, a contract to build rail lines in Algeria for Infrarail and a long-term contract with Italy's rail track company for track renewals.

Price rises in raw materials like coking coal, iron and scrap metal as well as foreign exchange fluctuations after the Brexit vote have proved "challenging" in recent months.

"Our industry continues to face many challenges," said British Steel multi-union chairman Paul McBean. He said the sector has a competitive disadvantage to many European and global competitors.

"However, we need to focus on what we can do from within, and to do that we need to use the positivity that has built up in the business since becoming British Steel to help us on our journey. We’ve shown we’re fighters, we’ve shown we’re survivors and now we’ve got to show that we can become industry and national champions," he said.

To strengthen its business and improve competitiveness, British Steel said it would continue to invest "significant capital expenditure" in technology and infrastructure. During the reporting period, British Steel committed £39m in capital expenditure and made several significant investments including £1.8m in scale removal at its Skinningrove site.

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