Thyssenkrupp, Tata Steel near de­ci­sion on JV board: Sources

Business Standard - - COMPANIES - TOM KAECKENHOFF, MAYTAAL AN­GEL, EUAN ROCHA & CHRISTOPH STEITZ

Thyssenkrupp and Tata Steel are close to de­cid­ing on who would lead their planned Euro­pean steel joint ven­ture (JV), four peo­ple fa­mil­iar with the mat­ter said.

Set­tling on the ven­ture’s lead­er­ship has been de­layed by a strat­egy cri­sis and change of CEO at Thyssenkrupp, which has said it would split into two com­pa­nies.

The hold-up has riled the Thyssenkrupp work­force. A labour leader on Wed­nes­day had said there would be “trou­ble” if the mat­ter was not re­solved soon.

An­dreas Goss, head, Thyssenkrupp’s steel unit, is the front run­ner to be­come chief ex­ec­u­tive of the com­bined en­tity, which will be Europe's sec­ond-largest steel­maker af­ter ArcelorMit­tal, the peo­ple said.

The new com­pany will have around 48,000 work­ers, and about ^17 bil­lion ($19.4 bil­lion) in sales, with pro­duc­tion fa­cil­i­ties in Ger­many, the Nether­lands and Bri­tain.

Goss, seen as well con­nected in the in­dus­try, has led Thyssenkrupp's steel di­vi­sion since 2014. The unit's ad­justed op­er­at­ing profit rose 26 per cent to ^687 mil­lion over the last fi­nan­cial year.

His ap­point­ment would fur­ther strengthen Thyssenkrupp's po­si­tion in the 50-50 JV, which al­ready in­cludes a greater share of pro­ceeds should the en­tity be listed on the stock exchange. The list­ing is widely ex­pected.

Signed in June, the planned en­tity still needs Euro­pean an­titrust ap­proval, which is ex­pected to­wards the end of the first quar­ter of 2019. The groups might have to di­vest as­sets to secure ap­proval, sources had pre­vi­ously said.

Hans Fis­cher, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Tata Steel's Euro­pean sub­sidiary, is also likely to join the ven­ture's man­age­ment board, the peo­ple said, ad­ding it was un­clear how many seats the board would have.

Thyssenkrupp and Tata Steel in June said the JV’s man­age­ment board would con­sist of six members, shared equally be­tween both the groups.

The num­ber could be re­duced to four to give a more fo­cused struc­ture to the en­tity, which will be called Thyssenkrupp Tata Steel, the peo­ple said. A de­ci­sion will be an­nounced very soon, they added.

Thyssenkrupp Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Guido Kerkhoff said last month a de­ci­sion on the JV's lead­er­ship would be made be­fore Christ­mas.

“The JV would have a twotier man­age­ment struc­ture, com­pris­ing a man­age­ment board and a su­per­vi­sory board,” a Tata Steel spokesman said. “Both boards would have equal rep­re­sen­ta­tion from Thyssenkrupp and Tata Steel," he said, ad­ding fur­ther an­nounce­ments will be made “in due course”.

When asked about the is­sue, a spokesman for Thyssenkrupp re­ferred back to Kerkhoff's re­marks.

The new com­pany will have around 48,000 work­ers, and about $19.4 bn in sales, with pro­duc­tion fa­cil­i­ties across Europe

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