Indian conglomerate Tata is considering scrapping a joint venture with German rival ThyssenKrupp, according to reports.
Tata has been looking at bringing together its European steelworks with the firm since last summer, but talks were put on hold to focus on finding a solution for the British Steel Pensions Scheme.
But with union members voting last month in favour of pension reform, the Indian firm is now considering walking away from the Thyssenkrupp deal altogether, The Sunday Times reported.
The Indian firm is reportedly concerned by the complexity of the transaction, originally planned as a merger of equals, while Thyssenkrupp has also been under pressure over its own pension schemes from local unions.
Westminster sources told City A.M. that the stance of Tata Sons' new chairman Natarajan Chandrasekaran on the deal remains unclear.
Chandrasekaran was appointed in mid-January after group patriarch Ratan Tata stepped in to helm the business following the dismissal of Cyrus Mistry in November.
Separately, the German firm's investors and workers have also expressed doubts about the transaction.
It comes just under a year after Tata first announced plans to dispose of its European operations, including the sprawling Port Talbot steelworks.
At that point, the firm said that a turnaround plan for Port Talbot was “unaffordable” and “highly unlikely to succeed”.
Talks are still ongoing over the future of steelworkers pensions in the UK sites, with union bosses set to meet the Indian conglomerate tomorrow in what is being branded as the “next phase” of negotiations.