Thyssenkrupp chief extols steel division, ponders German alliance

Thyssenkrupp chief executive Martina Merz has emphasised the high quality of the group’s steelmaking capability and has high hopes for the future of its distribution division, Materials Services.

“We believe in our steelmaking activities, in which we are the technology leader,” Merz says in an interview with daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Thyssenkrupp is currently in talks with Liberty Steel over a potential takeover of, or partnership for, its tk Steel Europe division. Merz considers the offer one possible option to enable a future for the division, which has been particularly hard hit by the coronavirus lockdown on carmakers in the spring.

She is also open to reviving the concept of a grouping of German steelmakers, which was considered in recent years under the name “Deutsche Stahl AG”. Salzgitter has however signalled its disapproval. Merz notes that she and Salzgitter chief Heinz Jörg Fuhrmann “…are not dancing together” in this respect, and that the government would also be a player in the game. “It will be more of a square dance,” she quips.

In contrast to its steelmaking division, which could be potentially divested, the group will cling on to Materials Services, Kallanish understands. For its distribution unit, Merz highlights the scalability of digital business models, and potential of expanding activities in America.