Thyssenkrupp seeks ‘independence’ for steel unit

Thyssenkrupp wants to spin off its steelmaking division, thyssenkrupp Steel Europe, to become a company independent from the parent conglomerate. The company’s ownership would initially be identical to the existing shareholders of tk AG, and possibly be floated separately on the stock market.

Following several failed merger attempts with competitors in recent years, tk AG has decided in favour of a stand-alone option. But only now has it become clear that this would involve a separation from the parent. At the group’s annual press conference, chief financial officer Klaus Keysberg explained that separate ownership structures on the capital market facilitate a more focused and flexible operation of the separate units. “In a pure play status, stakeholders are prepared to get more active,” Kallanish heard him say at the conference.

Spinning off the steel business is a very complex undertaking characterised by economic challenges and a large number of uncertainties, the executives underlined. Thyssenkrupp is currently conducting a feasibility study to explore which conditions are required to achieve a stand-alone solution for the business. The group expects to reveal more details about the process in spring, “although not yet necessarily a decision”, Keysberg noted.

He highlighted the role of political support from Brussels and Berlin in this process, in view that the company intends to invest billions to convert its production route to hydrogen-based low-carbon steel. “The political will is being given, but we are hoping for some more concrete pledges – we need them,” he said.

Christian Koehl Germany