CEO confirms more TK Materials consolidation possible

German industrial group Thyssenkrupp is leaving the prospect of further consolidation at Thyssenkrupp Materials open, following the group’s split into Industrials and Materials, the company’s new permanent CEO Guido Kerkhoff said in an analysts’ call Monday.

Kerkhoff, who was confirmed as permanent CEO Sunday, also said he expects that the European Commission will likely open a full-scale investigation into the pending merger of Thyssenkrupp Materials and Tata Steel Europe by October 30.

Thyssenkrupp’s supervisory board unanimously approved the separation of the group into two companies on Sunday. The separation will see the industrial goods and the materials businesses managed as independent, listed companies in the next 12-18 months. The annual general meeting still has to approve the plans.

In terms of the future strategy of Materials, which will include the steel processing, trading, special steel production, stockholding and the 50% stake in the new steel JV with Tata, Kerkhoff said there would be further consolidation options.

“We want to use opportunities if they are around,” said Kerkhoff.

German steel distribution giant Kloeckner has previously said it would be interested in Materials’ steel stockholding and trading, while Italian producer Marcegaglia said it would be keen to acquire special steel maker AS Terni.

Thyssenkrupp’s board approved Kerkhoff as CEO for five years on Sunday. Thyssenkrupp did not give a deadline for filling Kerkhoff’s previous role as CFO.

For the position as supervisory board head, the board approved Bernhard Pellens, who has been a member of the supervisory board since 2005.

Commenting on the appointments of Kerkhoff, analyst firm Jefferies said Monday: “Although many investors had argued that TKA [Thyssenkrupp] needed an external candidate as CEO, Kerkhoff’s leadership in the current restructuring has put him back in investors’ good graces as the most practical choice to execute separation within 12-18 months.”

Laura Varriale, PLATTS