Thyssenkrupp seeks partnership with Křetínský’s EPH

Germany’s thyssenkrupp AG is holding intensive talks with Czech group Energeticky a Prumyslovy Holding (EPH) about a possible energy alliance – apart from EPH’s interest in becoming co-owner of thyssenkrupp Steel.

For several months, Czech billionaire Daniel Křetínský has been rumoured as a close candidate to take a 50% stake in thyssenkrupp’s proposed Steel division spin-off. While thyssenkrupp has so far refrained from giving a comment or a statement on the process, it has now admitted it is in close negotiations with EPH, Křetínský’s company.

At tk’s annual press conference in Essen, chief executive Miguel Lopez highlighted the importance of a partnership with an energy company for the group’s steelmaking activities. “We see big potential in partnerships with players in the energy sector, with benefits for both sides,” Kallanish heard him say at the conference. He added that, in future, energy will make half of the production costs of steel, which is why “an energy partnership is absolutely indispensable”.

Lopez referred to “the gigantic amounts of green energy we will need for a climate-neutral operation at our steelmaking facilities.” As one of Europe’s biggest future consumers of green electricity, thyssenkrupp Steel will need long-term supply relationships and planning safety. “That’s why we are holding constructive and non-binding talks with energy company EPH,” Lopez said. These talks would eventually aim at shaping a joint venture with tk Steel, he added.

Whatever the outcome, Lopez refrained from giving a timeframe, noting that the talks are taking place in a difficult economic environment.

A journalist in the audience pointed out, however, that EPH is mainly known for producing power from coal, and not for the renewables that steelmakers need to turn clean.

Christian Koehl Germany