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Business deals

China's Jingye Group agrees to outline of British Steel rescue

Chairman promises thousands of jobs for politically sensitive northern England

British Steel plant in Scunthorpe, Britain: The proposed deal faces challenges like weak demand and high energy costs as well as labor and environmental issues.   © Reuters

BEIJING/LONDON (Reuters) -- China's Jingye Group said on Monday it has reached a provisional deal to buy British Steel and promised to invest 1.2 billion pounds ($1.5 billion) over the next decade and save thousands of jobs.

An agreement is of major political significance as Britain prepares to elect a new government on Dec. 12. The lack of opportunities in northern England, where British Steel is based, is an election issue, as the social gap between north and south widens.

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