Turkey’s military pension fund has reached a tentative deal to take over British Steel.
The Turkish Armed Forces Assistance Fund (known as Oyak) said it planned to take control of British Steel by the end of the year.
Accountants at its investment arm, Ataer, have exclusive rights to the insolvent firm’s books, so that they can examine the state of its finances.
British Steel was put into compulsory liquidation in May.
It owns the Scunthorpe steel works where 3,000 people work and it employs another 800 on Teesside and in north-eastern England.
Some 5,000 jobs were put at risk – and 20,000 in the supply chain – when talks broke down in May between the government and British Steel’s owner, Greybull.
The company was transferred to the Official Receiver because British Steel, its shareholders and the government were not able to, or would not, support the business.
The Official Receiver said it had received a “several” bids for the firm but describer Ataer as its “preferred buyer”.
“Following discussions with a number of potential purchasers for the British Steel group over the past few weeks I am pleased to say I have now received an acceptable offer from Ataer,” the Official Receiver said, adding that the focus was now on finalising the sale.
“I will be looking to conclude this process in the coming weeks, during which time British Steel continues to trade and supply its customers as normal,” the Official Receiver said.
“I would like to thank all employees, suppliers and customers for their continued support which has been essential to get to this point.”
Network Rail, which buys 100,000 tonnes of rails from British Steel each year, had said it would be interested in buying the division responsible for the welding, finishing and storing of rails for the UK’s train network.
But the Official Receiver wanted a buyer that would take on the whole business.
Ataer owns nearly 50% of Erdemir, Turkey’s biggest steel producer.