SSI: Coke Ovens To Close For Good

The coke ovens and blast furnace at the SSI steel plant on Teesside are to close, dashing hopes of saving jobs.

The Official Receiver said there was ``no realistic prospect'' of finding a buyer for the site at Redcar.

Thai owner SSI has gone into liquidation, threatening 1,700 job losses at the plant and thousands more in the supply chain.

The Official Receiver, Ken Beasley, said: ``SSI was placed into liquidation with substantial debts and had no funds available to purchase the coal needed to keep the coking ovens operational.

``I have ensured the continued operation of the ovens whilst I dealt with health and safety issues and considered whether there were any viable offers for the ovens. There is no realistic prospect of a buyer being found and the priority now is to close the ovens down safely.

``I cannot continue to draw on taxpayers funds to keep the ovens operational when there is no realistic prospect that a buyer will be found.

``I am continuing my liquidation of the company, including talking with interested parties about purchasing the company's other assets.

``I thank the staff who have been involved in the continued operation of the company and recognise the great efforts that have been put in and the professionalism shown by people in a time of enormous personal pressure.''

The Official Receiver said he will continue to monitor the number of staff required to safely manage the site in a closure situation, adding that numbers will decline as the closure plan progresses.

The Government is holding a summit on Friday to discuss the crisis in the steel industry.

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