British Steel moves to dominate Europe

The European Commission has given British Steel the green light to take over Sogerail of France, which would make it the largest producer of steel rail in the European Union. A British Steel spokesman said that the £50m-plus deal was likely to be concluded within weeks. Lorraine-based Sogerail has a strong presence in the rail-steel […]

The European Commission has given British Steel the green light to take over Sogerail of France, which would make it the largest producer of steel rail in the European Union.

A British Steel spokesman said that the £50m-plus deal was likely to be concluded within weeks.

Lorraine-based Sogerail has a strong presence in the rail-steel market in the Americas and western Europe, especially France, while British Steel’s sales have focused on Britain, Europe – including eastern Europe – north Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

`We’re big in the UK, they’re big in France. A deal would consolidate both companies in Europe, and we would be looking to extend product ranges in different countries,’ said the spokesman.

British Steel, which is in the process of a £3bn merger with Dutch steel maker Hoogovens, has made no announcement yet about Sogerail’s 520-strong workforce, but the company’s future will be linked to that of its existing heavy-section mill in Workington.

Sogerail is a subsidiary of French company Usinor, which wants to withdraw from carbon steel long products to concentrate on flat products and stainless steel.