A deal to secure the future of a Workington engineering plant has been signed.

TSP Engineering welcomed the top bosses from its new owner, the Chinese steelmaking giant Jingye, to its plant at Derwent Howe today.

The sale of British Steel to Jingye is set to be completed this week and the new owner said the entire transaction will unlock £1.2 billion-worth of investment over the next 10 years.

TSP Engineering, based at Derwent Howe, was a wholly-owned subsidiary of British Steel and run as a separate business from its parent company.

When British Steel went into compulsory liquidation last May, it was business as usual for TSP Engineering, which had – and continues to have – a bulging order book.

Because the TSP deal is a sale of the assets and the business, it has been completed ahead of main deal.

TSP's 230-strong workforce gathered on the shopfloor to hear from the Jingye bosses and TSP chief executive John Coughlan.

Mr Coughlan said: "We've been sold a number of times in the last few years and this is the first time the new owners have visited us to tell us about their plans."

Jingye's vice chairman Guotai Wang told the workers: "I’m a huge admirer of the work you do here.

"We have spent the past several months looking closely at all British Steel’s operations, including TSP Engineering, and have been struck by the professionalism and dedication of the people here.

"The work of your immensely skilled engineers, and everyone else that supports them, adds huge value to the economy and it’s a privilege for me to be able to see it close up.

"There will be absolutely no reduction in headcount or personnel as of day one.

"The current leadership team, led by John Coughlan, will remain in place and TSP Engineering will continue to operate as a separate entity with its own management team.

"The Jingye Group leadership team has full confidence in their stewardship of the business and intends to give them the space they need to continue to be successful."

The new chief finance officer of British Steel, Wei Zhang, will join the TSP board.

Mr Wang added: "Mr Zhang’s presence will ensure co-ordination between TSP Engineering and the rest of the group which should open up opportunities for TSP Engineering to provide products and services to the rest of the group."

Mr Coughlan said afterwards: "Nothing is going to change here. They have an obvious economic interest, but it is still business as usual.

"There will be no changes to terms and conditions and pensions for employees, and actually, we are already looking to take on more staff as we have won some big contracts in the last six weeks.

"We will also hopefully benefit from the increased investment Jingye has promised for British Steel."

The £50 million deal for British Steel includes the steelworks at Scunthorpe and mills at Teesside Beam Mill and Skinningrove, as well as its other subsidiary business FN Steel.

It will save around 3,000 jobs across the UK.

Mr Coughlan was in Scunthorpe last week to meet representatives from Jingye.

He said: "They are excited about what TSP does and excited by the opportunities the business is going to bring."

Earlier this month, TSP Engineering announced it had won a £1 million contract for a major research and development centre in Sweden, providing instrumentation and has several multi-million-pound orders on its books.