Thyssen to revive sale of Brazil steel mill in several years - report

FRANKFURT Sun Jan 12, 2014 8:30am EST

FRANKFURT Jan 12 (Reuters) - Germany's largest steel maker ThyssenKrupp wants eventually to revive efforts to sell its Brazilian steel mill after failing to find a buyer for the asset in 2013, a German radio station reported.

ThyssenKrupp in late November sold its U.S. plant to two rivals in a long-awaited deal to help extricate it from an ill-fated expansion plan, but failed to name a buyer for the Brazilian unit.

"It has to be said very clearly that in the medium- to long-term we do not want the Brazil plant at ThyssenKrupp," Chief Executive Heinrich Hiesinger told Deutschlandfunk, adding he did not want to specify a date when the sale could be relaunched.

The sale of the U.S. plant and a simultaneously announced capital increase are helping ThyssenKrupp cut its debt pile to just over 3 billion euros ($4.1 billion), Hiesinger said, according to the radio interview aired on Sunday. "If we continue 1 to 2 years in this direction, then we will further cut our debt and go into the direction of being debt-free," he added.

Weekly Der Spiegel quoted Hiesinger as saying: "We have to double our earnings before interest and taxes." The magazine did not specify which period Hiesinger was referring to.

At ThyssenKrupp's annual meeting on Friday, Hiesinger will face tough questions from shareholders over the progress that the company has made in its transformation from a 200-year-old steelmaker to a modern high-tech engineering conglomerate.

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