FRANKFURT Germany's ThyssenKrupp (TKAG.DE) could seek a partner to set up steel processing in Brazil if it fails to sell its steel mill in the Latin American country, the Wall Street Journal Deutschland reported, citing sources.
ThyssenKrupp has for more than a year been trying to offload its Steel Americas business, comprising the steel slab-producing mill in Brazil and a rolling mill in Alabama.
The Brazil plant has the capacity to produce up to 5 million tonnes of slab a year, part of which is sold to the Alabama mill for processing into flat products shipped mostly to carmakers.
A new processing plant in Brazil could take up the output of slabs that ThyssenKrupp can no longer ship to its plant in Alabama if it finds a buyer for only the U.S. plant, the WSJ Deutschland said.
ThyssenKrupp reiterated that it was in "far advanced" talks with one bidder over the sale of both Steel Americas plants and aimed to strike a deal soon. It is also in talks with other interested parties, it said, without providing details.
ThyssenKrupp owns 73 percent of the plant in Brazil, called CSA, while the rest belongs to Brazil's Vale (VALE5.SA).
A source familiar with the situation told Reuters last month that ThyssenKrupp could give up trying to sell the plant in Brazil, having made no progress in sales negotiations with Companhia Siderurgica Nacional (CSN) (CSNA3.SA).
A move to process CSA's slabs in Brazil rather than in the United States may also have further financial implications as Brasilia passed a series of tax breaks in 2005 that benefited companies exporting at least 80 percent of their output.
(Reporting by Maria Sheahan; Additional reporting by Jeb Blount; Editing by Peter Cooney)