Steel firm ThyssenKrupp suffers as sale of American arm drags on

City A.M. Reporter
GERMANY’S ThyssenKrupp saw its finances weaken in the latest quarter as the indebted group struggled to find a buyer for its loss-making Steel Americas division.

ThyssenKrupp has been trying for more than a year to find a buyer for the mills in Brazil and the US state of Alabama, which have caused losses and sapped capital at Germany’s biggest steelmaker for the past two years.

While ThyssenKrupp’s third-quarter report yesterday showed net debt eased, its equity capital and its liquidity shrank further. It also posted a group net loss of €362m (£234.3m), compared with a year-earlier profit of €109m, as Steel Americas continued to lose money and weak prices weighed on its European steel business.

Chief executive Heinrich Hiesinger is shifting the company away from the volatile steel sector to higher-margin businesses such as elevators and factory equipment.

But his efforts have been overshadowed by the crisis over Steel Americas. He affirmed that ThyssenKrupp was in very advanced talks with a leading bidder for Steel Americas as well as other parties, but hinted it may take longer than expected to reach a deal.