Turkey’s military pension fund, Oyak, has entered exclusive talks a deal to buy British Steel, months after the business went into administration.
The fund, through its investment arm Ataer Holdings, hopes to close the deal by the end of the year.
The Official Receiver, who has run the process, said: “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 Holdings for the purchase of the whole business and I am now focusing on finalising the sale.”
Anna Turley, the Labour MP for Redcar and a member of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Committee, said the news was “really positive”.
Worries had been raised that the British Steel plant may go the same way as the steelworks in her constituency Redcar, which closed in 2015
“It’s been a really difficult and uncertain, few months for workers and the local community here and in Scunthorpe,” she said.
Scunthorpe MP Nic Dakin welcomed the news of the talks, saying three bidders had been in the running until the end.
“I’d like to take the opportunity to thank the workforce for the work they’ve done. It shows the high quality in this business, and that’s why there has been so much interest,” he added.
Business secretary Andrea Leadsom said: “This is an important and positive step forward in securing the future of British Steel. I said that no stone would be left unturned in our efforts to find a suitable buyer for the whole company, and we have worked tirelessly to support the Official Receiver to do that.”
Union Unite said the workers at British Steel were relieved by the news.
“In order to secure the long-term future of British Steel and the UK steel industry there remains a requirement for the government to keep its eye on the ball and provide assistance to tackle problems of high use energy costs and business rates,” said Harish Patel, the union’s national officer for steel.