Advanced Manufacturing

Jingye Group finalise purchase of British Steel after it collapsed and will invest about £1.2bn

British Steel by the Chinese firm Jingye Group was completed on Monday. It was in May last year the company went into administration putting thousands of jobs at risk. Jingye says that the move will save more than 3,000 jobs in Scunthorpe and Teesside and it’s also pledging to modernise the towns’ steelworks. The firm is reported to have offered £50m to buy British Steel after it collapsed. British Steel employed about 5,000 people at the time of its collapse, and is the second-largest steelmaker in the country. The sale includes the steelworks at Scunthorpe, mills in Teesside and Skinningrove, as well as the TSP Engineering business based in Cumbria.

Jingye Group, which also makes steel, says it will invest about £1.2bn over the next 10 years on upgrades to plant and machinery.

China’s Ambassador to the UK Lui Xiaomong has visited the plant in Scunthorpe this week after the news broke that the takeover, first mooted in November last year, was signed. Now some excellent news this week came from the Coventry based electric vehicle manufacturer LEVC. The London Electric Vehicle Company has won a big export order to supply 100 new TX zero-emissions capable electric taxis to Baku Taxi Service. This is a government-backed taxi operation in Azerbaijan, and is the latest sign of the growing relationship between Azerbaijan and the LEVC, which had previously purchased a large fleet of purple TX4s that are in use throughout the capital city of Baku. Now the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, has chosen to use the new electric TX model as the city’s premium transport solution and personally selected ‘Tupelo Red’, to ensure the new electric taxis stand out.

The new order vehicles are being used as a premium transport option capable of seating up to six people, and come with a panoramic roof, onboard wi-fi and charging points for mobile phones and laptops. The LEVC has been one of the success stories of 2020, and it comes after the company enjoyed a record year in 2019 when it sold more than two and a half thousand units. This year it expects demand to increase by around fifty per cent. It’s expanded its line-up beyond the successful TX taxi, with the shuttle variant and, in Q4 this year, will be moving into the commercial vehicle sector with the launch of an all new electric van. The first prototypes of the new van due to launched in Q4 are already being produced using the same production line as the current TX models. It’s is constructed using the same lightweight aluminium architecture as the as TX electric taxi, which is 30% lighter than a conventional steel body, resistant to any form of rust and pound for pound can absorb twice the crash energy of mild steel.

Other topics and highlights include –
Good news for the car industry in the UK as Nissan has unveilled a new £52m XL press line, as preparations ramp up for the next generation Qashqai. The press, weighs more than 2,000 tonnes and has taken 18 months to install. It’s part of a £400m investment by Nissan in for the new Qashqai. The investment includes a new recycling system to segregate and process scrap, and upgrades to the existing blanking line which will supply the sheets of metal that are ready to be pressed to the XL press. It’s capable of stamping more than 6.1million vehicle panels a year.

One of the largest employers in Andover, has announced its intention to build an additional factory. Family-owned Stannah Lifts plans to leave its current site at Anton Mill where it manufactures its Midilift range of platform lifts and bring stairlift and lift manufacturing together at the new facility at Andover Business Park. With 90,000 sq ft of space the new factory will be more than two and a half times the size of Stannah’s Watt Close manufacturing facility. The planning application shows the company’s green credentials with proposals for 2200 square metres of solar panels, saving 203 tons of CO2 emissions a year compared to using electricity from the grid.

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