British Steel Corporation

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British Steel Corporation

 

the largest steel-producing company in Great Britain and Europe. Owned by the government and operated under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Power.

The British Steel Corporation was founded in July 1967 as a result of the nationalization of the largest companies in Great Britain’s iron and steel industry; this nationalization was carried out by the Labour Party, which was in office at that time. The former owners received compensation of approximately £580 million in government securities (6.5 percent) redeemable in cash by 1971. A very powerful metallurgical conglomerate was formed, based on Richard Thomas and Baldwins, a company already owned by the government, and the 13 most important steel-producing companies in the country, now government owned.

The new monopoly is surpassed in production volume only by the United States Steel Corporation, an American company. In 1969 the British Steel Corporation produced approximately 7 percent of the steel in the capitalist world, more than 20 percent of the steel in the European capitalist countries. The British Steel Corporation controls more than 90 percent of the iron ore mined in the country, 95 percent of the iron smelted, and 93 percent of the steel; it is the principal manufacturer of heavy rolled steel, thin sheet metal, and tin plate. Its companies employ 80 percent of all workers in the industry. The British Steel Corporation is a holding company with respect to the individual nationalized firms, which have retained their legal independence, their own boards of directors, and their affiliated branches, including branches abroad. The British Steel Corporation is subdivided into four groups of companies, according to their specialization and location (see Table 1).

Table 1. Indexes of the activities of the company groups of the British Steel Corporation (1967)
GroupsFixed capital (in millions of £)Steel output (in millions of ton)Number of employees
Midland...............3375.868,500
Northern and Tubes...............3365.595,500
Scottish and Northwest...............2884.647,400
South Wales...............4166.157,100
Total...............1,37722.0268,500

In 1969 the British Steel Corporation had a total turnover of £1.2 billion, and steel production amounted to 24.3 million tons.

D. A. LIPEROVSKAIA

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