British Steel rescue facing fresh delay amid reports £50m deal with Chinese buyer will not be sealed this week

The British Steel sale faces fresh delays as sources insist a deal with Chinese buyer Jingye will not be sealed this week.

Ministers were hoping to agree the terms of a £50million rescue package.

But a source close to the deal told the Mail this is partly because the French government has not approved the deal, which also involves a profitable plant in France.

Rescue delayed: British Steel collapsed last May and has been propped up by taxpayers at a rate estimated at £1m a day since then

Rescue delayed: British Steel collapsed last May and has been propped up by taxpayers at a rate estimated at £1m a day since then

The source said: ‘Thursday was touted as the deadline but there was never any ‘drop dead’ date, especially during the wait for a decision from the French. 

‘It’s likely to be sometime in March.’

French finance minister Bruno Le Maire is opposed to selling strategically important assets to Chinese firms.

He can block Jingye’s deal, which includes ploughing in £1.2billion, safeguarding many jobs and reopening a blast furnace to keep British Steel afloat.

British Steel collapsed last May and has been propped up by taxpayers at a rate estimated at £1million a day since then.

 

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