September 25, 2013 / 6:11 AM / 4 years ago

Activist investor ups stake in Thyssen, boosting shares

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Activist investor Cevian has raised its stake in ThyssenKrupp (TKAG.DE) to 5.2 percent and said it could buy more, in a move that was welcomed by the German steelmaker’s CEO who is struggling to push the firm into new higher-margin businesses.

Shares in ThyssenKrupp rose 4.8 percent to 18.3 euros after Sweden-based Cevian announced the stake increase and said it was convinced of the German steelmaker’s long-term potential.

“The measures that ThyssenKrupp’s management has initiated as part of its strategic development programme are starting to have an effect,” Cevian Capital partner Jens Tischendorf said in a statement on Wednesday.

Chief Executive Heinrich Hiesinger is having trouble extricating Essen-based ThyssenKrupp from a disastrous investment in a Brazilian steel mill that is bleeding money and shift the company away from its traditional business, into the technology sector.

ThyssenKrupp's stock has fallen 1.5 percent so far this year, underperforming a 13.8 percent gain by Germany's blue-chip DAX index .GDAXI.

It trades at 15.3 times 12-month forward earnings, a big discount to fellow steelmaker ArcelorMittal’s ISPA.AS multiple of 32.1, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine.

Cevian is known for its willingness to turf out managers and force changes of strategy at companies it sees as undervalued. Among other, it pressured U.S. construction machinery maker Terex (TEX.N) to raise its hostile offer for Germany’s Demag Cranes in 2011.

Cevian also owns around 19 percent of German industrial services firm Bilfinger (GBFG.DE).

Reporting by Maria Sheahan and Matthias Inverardi; Editing by Noah Barkin

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