Thyssenkrupp Steel to ‘regain competitiveness by itself’

Thyssenkrupp Steel Europe will shape its future without a partnership, executives maintained at parent thyssenkrupp AG’s annual press conference monitored by Kallanish.

The company “…is all set for regaining its competitiveness by itself, and there is nothing more to say about it,” Klaus Keysberg said in reply to questions about the failed merger with Tata Steel Europe. Klaus Keysberg, ceo of distribution unit tk Materials Services, was only recently appointed to a newly-created post at AG level dedicated to steel activities.

The annual press conference was also a debut for the AG’s intermediate ceo, Martina Merz, who highlighted the importance of a realignment of several activities under the slogan “New tk”. These changes concern activities like System Engineering and Plant Technology, but not the steel business, for which the group plans further investments.

Still, the group will address performance issues and structural challenges in the steel sector. To this end, the Steel executive board is currently working on a concept for the future. This will be discussed in December with co-determination bodies which represent employees.

In the past fiscal year ending 30 September, thyssenkrupp reported 1% revenue growth to €42 billion ($46 billion), but had to concede a net loss of €304 million compared to a €62m loss a year earlier. The group plans to axe 6,000 jobs worldwide, 4,000 thereof in Germany.

Personnel director Oliver Burkhard, the longest-standing member of the board, expressed self-criticism about mistakes that were made in the past because of an authoritarian management style. “We have asked our employees to submit proposals and demands, and it was impressive how toughly-worded many of the demands were,” he said.

The group’s realignment will also mean halving the number of staff at the headquarters from 800, as part of the intention to give more independence to the business divisions.