Salzgitter talks to Vallourec about HKM stake

The two German stakeholders of Hüttenwerke Krupp-Mannesmann (HKM) – thyssenkrupp Steel and Salzgitter – are negotiating with the third owner, Vallourec, about a transfer of its stake in the big mill in Duisburg.

While Salzgitter’s 30% stake is smaller than thyssenkrupp Steel’s 50%, it could be more serious about taking Vallourec’s 20% shareholding because of its similar activities in tubes. France-based Vallourec shut all its plants in Germany last year and it makes little sense to keep its stake in HKM. A plan to sell the stake has not yet been made official but Salzgitter’s executives expect it will come, they said during a conference call.

“Vallourec is basically out of HKM, and we are talking to them, as we stand behind HKM,” Kallanish heard Salzgitter chief executive Gunnar Groebler say. He noted, however, that thyssenkrupp Steel is the main stakeholder with the main say on the future of HKM.

For its own tubes activities, Salzgitter is more optimistic for large line pipe than for precision pipe. The latter “are mostly for automotive, which was weak in 2023, and remains challenging in 2024, meaning we need to keep an eye on costs,” Groebler said. For large-diameter pipe used in pipelines, the company is banking on improving utilisation in the second half of the year. “There are many projects out there for which we have bid,” Groebler noted.

Tubes are part of Salzgitter’s Steel Processing unit, which also includes heavy plate. The unit’s order intake in 2023 was €2.22 billion ($2.4 billion) versus €2.75 billion in 2022. Shipments fell from 1.57 million tonnes to 1.46mt.

Christian Koehl Germany