Thyssenkrupp in crisis: high losses, poor prospects

thyssenkrupp in crisis: high losses, poor prospects

Thyssenkrupp still deep in the red under new chairman martina merz.

With a net loss of 372 million euros in the first three months of the current fiscal year, the steel and industrial group has already posted a higher loss than in the whole of the previous year, as the company announced on thursday.

Debt has risen sharply, equity is almost depleted. And no improvement is in sight for the time being. For the year as a whole, the essen-based company is expecting a significantly worse result than in 2018/19, which ended with a deficit of 260 million euros.

"Merz commented on the first quarterly results after taking office last october: "the current figures are not inspiring. At the annual general meeting two weeks ago, the interim CEO had already put shareholders in the mood for a longer period of drought.

There is no all-clear for employees: chief financial officer johannes dietsch would not rule out the possibility that the job cuts could go beyond the previous plans of 6,000 jobs. However, he did not have "any new figures" for the public at the moment. Every stone is currently being turned at thyssenkrupp.

Particularly bitter for thyssenkrupp is the situation of the steel division, which in the future is to become more the core business of the traditional group again. It delivered a loss of 164 million euros, compared with a small profit of 38 million euros in the prior-year quarter.

To repay debt and restructure the group, the industrial giant urgently needs fresh money, which is to come from the profitable elevator business. By the end of february, the executive board intends to decide whether to sell the profitable business or float it on the stock exchange. "We are on the home stretch," dietsch said in a conference call. The option to sell is currently being "very strongly" examined. Bids submitted by financial investors and competitors. The elevator business is currently thyssenkrupp’s only significant profit earner.

Dietsch sees problems with a sale to a competitor such as the finnish kone group, which is said to have offered almost 17 billion euros. Selling to such a strategic investor would mean "that we will only receive the money after an extensive antitrust review," he said. This must be taken into account in the "catalog of criteria" for the decision. The IG metall union had also warned of a long wait in the event of a sale to kone. Almost one in three of thyssenkrupp’s roughly 160,000 employees worldwide will be affected by the transaction.

Dark clouds hang over thyssenkrupp’s steel business. At the end of the month, the former chairman of the executive board of thyssenkrupp steel europe, premal desai, will resign – thyssenkrupp announced that there had been "differences of opinion on the direction of the steel business. Added to this are economic problems. "Demand is weak at all major steel customers," said expert roland dohrn of the RWI leibniz institute for economic research in essen, germany. The construction industry is not helping thyssenkrupp because cheaper imported steel is being used there.

Following the ban on the merger with indian competitor tata, thyssenkrupp must single-handedly get its steel division back on track. Whether this can succeed in the long term without cooperation with other steel producers is questionable. Thyssenkrupp continues to believe that consolidation in the steel sector makes sense, as dietsch confirmed.

Group CEO merz, who plans to return to her post as chairman of the supervisory board next october, believes the group is on the right track despite the current poor figures. "The direction is right," she asserted.

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