Thyssenkrupp's 30 percent Industrials stake may pave way for M&A: union

DUISBURG, Germany/FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Thyssenkrupp TKAG.DE will keep a stake of around 30 percent in the capital goods business it plans to spin off, a labor representative at the German conglomerate said, paving the way for an eventual takeover bid once it decides to sell out.

FILE PHOTO: Thyssenkrupp's logo is seen close to the elevator test tower in Rottweil, Germany, September 25, 2017. REUTERS/Michaela Rehle/File Photo

Under the plan, Thyssenkrupp shareholders will own a majority of Thyssenkrupp Industrials, which will include the elevators, car parts and plant engineering units, while Thyssenkrupp will be renamed Thyssenkrupp Materials and keep a minority stake.

This was likely to be “around 30 percent”, Tekin Nasikkol, head of the works council at Thyssenkrupp Steel Europe and a member of Thyssenkrupp’s supervisory board, told reporters.

Thyssenkrupp will keep only its materials and steel-related activities under the plan announced last week and said it intends to sell the Thyssenkrupp Industrials stake in a timely manner once the deal gets rubber-stamped by shareholders, which is expected to be in the next 12 to 18 months.

“We could then sell down either completely or step by step,” Nasikkol added on Thursday.

Should Thyssenkrupp Materials decide to sell the stake in Thyssenkrupp Industrials to one party it could be an opportunity for Finnish elevator group Kone KNEBV.HE, which has long been wanting to do a deal.

Kone was not immediately available for comment.

Under German takeover law, 30 percent marks the threshold at which potential buyers have to launch a full takeover offer.

That was the case when Finnish power group Fortum FORTUM.HE bought 47 percent of Uniper UN01.DE from E.ON EONGn.DE, which kept the stake after a similar spin off.

Chief Executive Guido Kerkhoff said last week that Thyssenkrupp had thoroughly reviewed alternatives to the split, including a partial listing or merger of its elevator unit.

Kerkhoff said that a merger of the business would have prevented access to its cash flow, saying this would be “an amputation of healthy parts that leave the remaining group in a weaker position”.

Additional reporting by Anne Kauranen in Helsinki; editing by Maria Sheahan/Michelle Martin/Alexander Smith