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The reborn British Steel has appointed a chief executive to steer the continuing turnaround at the newly-formed company.

The UK’s second-largest producer of the metal, based at the large Scunthorpe steelworks in northern England, said Peter Bernscher would take the reins from May.

Mr Bernscher comes with 30 years’ experience in the steel industry, having held board and director roles at Voestalpine, the Austrian steel and engineering group.

His task will be to continue the transformation under way at the privately-owned business, which was spun out of Tata’s troubled British operation and sold for £1 to investment firm Greybull Capital last June.

Mr Bernscher, 48, said:

I’m immensely impressed with the turnaround the business has made in the past 12 months – the change in results and in the way the business is now operating makes me excited about what lies ahead.

Renamed in homage to the former titan of British industry, the company has said it is on track to make a small pre-tax profit in its first year of independence. That compares with losses of about £80m in the 2015-16 financial year on revenue of roughly £1.25bn.

British Steel’s executive chairman Roland Junck will continue in his role until the end of the year and then become non-executive chair.

He said: “[Peter is] highly experienced, with a strong commercial background and will bring another important external viewpoint to the company as we continue our evolution into an outward looking business.”

British Steel produces “long” products that are used in the railway and construction industries. Tata Steel had already undertaken begun a restructuring involving mass redundancies before offloading the unit.

Workers at Tata’s rump UK steel business this week voted to accept the closure of their £15bn pension fund, an important step towards securing a future for the giant Port Talbot steelworks in south Wales, which had been at risk of closure.

The Indian steel giant this month agreed to sell its UK-based speciality unit for £100m to industrials group Liberty House.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved.
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