DUESSELDORF, Germany, Sept 3 There is a chance
that German steelmaker ThyssenKrupp could end up
keeping its loss-making Steel Americas business, after trying
for more than a year to find a buyer for the plants in Brazil
and Alabama, a person close to the matter said.
"Plan B is to keep the plants," the person told Reuters
following a meeting of ThyssenKrupp's supervisory board on
Holding on to the plants is just one of several options, the
A second person said there was hardly any hope that a deal
could be struck to sell the plants.
ThyssenKrupp wants to sell Steel Americas because the
business is sapping its finances and slowing a planned shift
from its traditional steel business to higher-margin products
and services such as elevators, submarines and parts for
Sources have said in the past that ThyssenKrupp was in talks
with Brazil's Companhia Siderurgica Nacional (CSN),
"You cannot negotiate forever if the other side just wants
to push down the price," the source said, adding ThyssenKrupp
could cut the plants' output for now to cut costs.
A German newspaper earlier reported that ThyssenKrupp was
set to set to scrap the sale of Steel Americas to launch a quick
and much-needed capital increase. ThyssenKrupp brushed off the
report, saying sales talks were continuing with no change.
But pressure is rising on Chief Executive Heinrich Hiesinger
to find a solution quickly as ThyssenKrupp, a symbol of
Germany's industrial prowess, is at risk of breaching loan
covenants when its financial year ends at the end of the month.
At the end of June, its gearing ratio - how much debt it has
compared to equity - had jumped to 185.7 percent from 148.2
percent three months earlier.
If it remains above 150 percent at the end of ThyssenKrupp's
fiscal year, banks could cancel an undrawn 2.5 billion euro
($3.3 billion) credit line because of a breach of covenants.