New name as Irish Steel sold for £1


IRISH Steel officially changed hands yesterday when Ispat International bought it from the Government for £1. The Haulbowline Island based company will now be renamed Ispat Ireland.

Under the deal, Ispat International will inject £25 million into the company over five years while the Government has agreed to give £38.2 million in aid.

The writing off of debts going back to 1985 will account for £19 million of the Government's contribution. Ispat has guaranteed at least 300 jobs at the plant over five years.

British Steel has taken legal action against the European Commission over its decision to allow the sale because of the level of State aid involved. The action will take several years to come before the European Court of Justice.

The acquisition is being made through London based Ispat International's subsidiary, Ispat Mexicana, which is the parent company for the group's manufacturing operations.

Ispat has been managing Irish Steel since the deal was agreed last September.

The Minister for Enterprise and Employment, Mr Bruton, said yesterday was "a momentous day for Irish Steel as it assumes its rightful place in the private sector. I believe that it has found the right partner in Ispat International, a company of global scale with a very strong record of turning around former State owned steel plants".