Greybull Capital, the private equity firm which owned British Steel until it collapsed last month, is reportedly gearing up to bid for the firm’s operations in France and the Netherlands.
The move would mean Greybull dispenses with British Steel’s UK business. It bought the firm from Tata Steel for £1 three years ago.
The private equity firm reportedly hopes to merge the European operations with a French steelmaker it bought last month, Ascoval. Such a move would create a new steel business on the continent from the remnants of the British company.
Last month, British Steel went insolvent after the government could not provide a £75m loan to keep it afloat. The failure came weeks after Whitehall handed the firm £120m to help it pay an EU carbon emissions bill. The initial loan helped British Steel dodge a fine of more than £600m from the bloc.
A spokesperson for Greybull said: “Ever since we rescued British Steel in 2016 Greybull Capital has been committed to supporting the company to the best of our ability. That commitment remains despite recent events.
“As a result we will explore all options to help the company find the best sustainable solution for the good of its employees, customers and all involved.”
“The steelmaking supply chain must be retained and the business kept together to protect jobs across Europe,” said Alasdair McDiarmid, operations director at the UK steelworkers’ union Community.
The news was first reported by the Financial Times.
British Steel continues to trade under the control of the Official Receiver. Despite the firm’s UK arm going into liquidation last month, its two European subsidiaries did not.