FRANKFURT ThyssenKrupp's (TKAG.DE) Steel Americas business, which the company may put up for sale, will continue posting operating losses until at least next year, Chief Executive Heinrich Hiesinger told a German newspaper.
"It would be unrealistic to expect operating figures in the black in America next year following a likely triple-digit million euro loss for the current year," weekly Euro am Sonntag quoted Hiesinger as saying.
Germany's biggest steelmaker said this month it will examine all strategic options, including a partnership or a sale, for its steel mills in Brazil and the United States.
ThyssenKrupp has invested a total of 12 billion euros ($15 billion) in the two mills and said their book value stood at 7 billion euros.
Hiesinger told Euro am Sonntag there were no signs that the company would have to take a major writedown on Steel Americas this year.
"But in the end that depends on the strategic solution," he said.
The possible sale marks the latest step in ThyssenKrupp's efforts to slash debt and trim down a business that once stretched from mega-yachts and submarines to elevators.
It is also selling its stainless steel unit to Finland's Outokumpu (OUT1V.HE) as it tries to slim down its business and pay off debt.
Hiesinger said he expected that ThyssenKrupp would be able to cut its debt and reach positive free cash flow in the second half of its fiscal year through the end of September.
(Reporting by Maria Sheahan; editing by Keiron Henderson)