Turkish army fund in last-gasp talks to buy British Steel - FT

Oyak, a pension fund owned by the Turkish military, is in last-minute talks to buy British Steel, the Financial Times reported.

The pension fund, which owns Turkey’s largest steelmaker Erdemir through subsidiary Ataer Holding, is in negotiations with the British government, the FT said, citing two people familiar with the matter.

British Steel, owned by private equity firm Greybull Capital, entered insolvency in May after pleas for a state bailout were rejected. Liberty House, a British company led by Indian businessman Sanjeev Gupta, has also made a rival offer.

Ataer is seeking financial commitments from the British government that involves taxpayer support, one of the people said. Any such support may contravene EU rules restricting state aid, the person said.

The potential deal’s terms were being negotiated line-by-line on the telephone between representatives of the British government and Ataer, one person said, according to the FT.

British Steel favours the bid from the Turkish firm, one of the people said.

Ataer has pledged to boost production at British Steel’s Scunthorpe plant and to implement a cost-reduction plan drawn up by the current management, the FT said. It is also planning to build a new furnace and convert the plant to gas power, it said, citing one of the people.