British Steel’s Chinese owner has had its bid to acquire a factory in France rejected by a court as concerns grow in some European capitals about companies from the Asian superpower snapping up assets, reported the Financial Times.
Jingye Group, which saved the UK’s second-largest steelmaker from bankruptcy earlier this year, was attempting to wrest control of a small mill in north-east France that belonged to British Steel.
However, a tribunal in Strasbourg in charge of the dossier this week accepted an offer from Liberty House, the privately owned industrial group led by UK businessman Sanjeev Gupta. The next step is for France’s finance ministry to approve the deal, according to officials. The decision comes at a moment of tension between Beijing and Brussels over trade and Chinese investments in Europe.
Jingye had pledged to invest €60 million ($69 million) in the Hayange rail mill over five years with no need for public funding. It also offered to transfer €30 million for capital expenditure into an escrow account, say people familiar with its bid. But officials had concerns over the industrial conglomerate’s finances and worried about the potential for dumping of Chinese steel.