efe-epaBy Oliver Griffin Madrid

The UK government has named Ataer Holding AS as the preferred bidder for British Steel Ltd., after the High Court ordered its compulsory liquidation earlier in the year, according to a report from Dow Jones Newswires supplied to Efe Friday.

In May the High Court appointed the Official Receiver, a civil servant, to oversee the insolvency proceedings of British Steel, the UK's second-largest steel maker, endangering thousands of jobs.

In a statement on Friday, the Official Receiver said that following discussions with a number of potential buyers for British Steel, it has received an acceptable offer to purchase the whole business from Turkish company Ataer.

The Official Receiver said: "I will be looking to conclude this process in the coming weeks, during which time British Steel continues to trade and supply its customers as normal."

Earlier in the year, talks between British Steel and the UK government ground to a halt over concerns that a requested loan would be illegal. Then UK Business Secretary Greg Clark said the government had worked with the company to try and secure a solution.

News of the purchase by Ataer was warmly received by trade association UK Steel, Dow Jones added. "Today's announcement is enormously positive news for British Steel, its workers, and UK manufacturing as a whole," said UK SteelDirector General Gareth Stace.

Stace said while the announcement was an important stepping stone in safeguarding the UK steel industry, government support "will undoubtedly be critical" in taking that process forward. EFE-EPA