Klöckner expects more acquisitions to come from crisis

Klöckner & Co intends to proceed with acquiring distribution companies in Europe and the USA, Kallanish hears from its outgoing chief executive, Gisbert Rühl.

Rühl said during a conference call he expects opportunities to come about in the wake of the coronavirus crisis, “…which not everyone will survive unharmed.” Klöckner has a strong financial cushion for takeovers, in the three-digit-million euro range, he added. The German-based distribution group is eyeing smaller stockholders as well as groups for expansion in existing regions of activity, as well as in new regions that Rühl did not specify.

He emphasised Klöckner is not much interested in distribution companies that are part of mill groups. This suggests that a combination of Klöckner and thyssenkrupp Materials Services, which in Germany is bigger than Klöckner, has become unlikely. Although thyssenkrupp AG undergoing restructuring, its chief financial officer, Klaus Keysberg, made clear last week that it intends to hold on to its distribution division.

An unexpected guest at the conference call was former thyssenkrupp ceo Guido Kerkhoff, who will soon replace Gisbert Rühl as ceo of Klöckner. He named consolidation as one of the key challenges of his upcoming tenure, and noted that “…Klöckner is in a very good starting position” for acquisitions.