EC restarts Tata-Thyssenkrupp steel merger probe

The European Commission said Tuesday it had restarted its investigation into the proposed merger of Tata and Thyssenkrupp’s steel operations following a suspension of the case in December, setting a new deadline of April 29.

The commission paused the case in December to wait for required documents and information which the companies failed to submit in September when they notified the EC about the merger.

The suspension of the investigation ended last week, with the new April deadline set, the EC confirmed to S&P Global Platts Tuesday.

The initial deadline was March 19, but had already been extended once following concerns regarding primarily flat carbon steel for automotive applications, metallic coated steel for packaging, and grain-oriented electrical steel.

The EC said it was concerned that customers of the joint venture between Germany’s ThyssenKrupp and India’s Tata would face a reduced choice in suppliers and higher prices.

If the merger is approved it will create Europe’s second-biggest steelmaker behind ArcelorMittal, producing 21 million mt/year.

The two companies will continue their steel operations separately until the deal is closed.

The CEO of the merged entity will be current Thyssenkrupp Steel Europe head Andreas Goss, while Hans Fischer, CEO of Tata Steel Europe, will be deputy CEO and chief technology officer.

The venture will be a 50-50 split for at least six years with equal representation from both companies, while Thyssenkrupp will have a financial stake in an initial public offering of 55%. The German steelmaker will also have the right to decide when and if an IPO takes place.

— Laura Varriale