A UK steel plant which was facing closure just 12 months ago has seen an astonishing turnaround.
British Steel, which employs 700 staff in the North East, last week announced it had returned to profit and that thousands of workers have been granted a five per cent stake in the business.
The operation announced it had made a £47million profit in the year to March, a dramatic reversal on the £79million loss just 12 months earlier.
Securing key contracts to provide steel for the Crossrail project in London and the new stand at the Anfield football ground helped boost the financial performance.
Roland Junck, British Steel’s executive chairman, admitted that the transformation had been “remarkable”.
“Our remarkable people…have embraced, engineered and led change,” he said.
“They are the reason we can today reveal the best financial performance in the long products business since 2007 and they are the reason I have great optimism for the future of British Steel.
“In 12 months we have started transforming from an inward-looking production hub into a profitable, more agile business by controlling costs, improving our product range and quality, and through strategic investments.”
The future of the Scunthorpe plant was on a knife-edge last year, with the Indian conglomerate Tata having announced it would be putting the business up for sale.
Greybull Investment stepped in to buy the enterprise and subsequently announced it would be renamed British Steel, reviving a once famous brand which has been out of use for over 15 years.
Harish Patel, Unite’s national officer for steel, welcomed last week’s figures, but said that the trade union was appalled that the Government had offered the industry little by way of assistance.
“British Steel now needs to build on its initial success by properly investing in its skilled workforce,” he said.
“However despite the positive results there remain serious challenges. The problem of China dumping cheap steel into the European market is a key issue. The failure of the EU to take action to tackle this problem is very worrying.”