Thyssenkrupp workers urge thoroughness over speed in Tata Steel talks

Thyssenkrupp steel workers, holding fake €500 banknotes, protest against the planned combination of the group’s European steel operations with those of Tata Steel of India in last November. (Reuters)
Updated 21 June 2018
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Thyssenkrupp workers urge thoroughness over speed in Tata Steel talks

FRANKFURT/DUISBURG: Thyssenkrupp workers on Thursday urged management to solve outstanding issues in talks with Tata Steel to create a European joint venture, signaling they would not be opposed to a further delay of the transaction if necessary.
The remarks come as Thyssenkrupp Chief Executive Heinrich Hiesinger finds himself under pressure from all sides to present a deal that will satisfy employees and investors, which have grown increasingly frustrated with the lengthy negotiations.
“There are still a number of unresolved issues until a possible signing,” Tekin Nasikkol, chairman of Thyssenkrupp Steel Europe’s works council and a member of Thyssenkrupp AG’s supervisory board, said in a statement.
“We expect all parties to focus on diligence rather than speed in fixing the problems.”
Talks to create a European steel joint venture have dragged on for more than two years and have hit a snag after the diverging performance of the two businesses prompted Thyssenkrupp’s activist shareholders Elliott and Cevian to ask for better terms.
Hiesinger has several options to address the valuation gap and is seeking approval for the venture from Thyssenkrupp’s 20-member supervisory board, where half of the seats are held by labor representatives, by the end of next week.
“If Mr. Hiesinger needs more time he can have it as far as I’m concerned,” Nasikkol said.
Hiesinger’s options range from changing the 50-50 ownership structure, possibly to 55-45 or 60-40 in favor of Thyssenkrupp, transferring more Thyssenkrupp debt onto the venture, excluding Tata Steel from dividend payments or securing a cash payment from the Indian firm to settle the difference.
Nasikkol confirmed labor leaders would not support the venture taking on more debt. So far, Thyssenkrupp plans to transfer €4 billion ($4.6 billion) in liabilities, compared with Tata Steel’s €2.5 billion.


Urgency needed to boost Palestinian economy: IMF chief

Updated 26 June 2019
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Urgency needed to boost Palestinian economy: IMF chief

  • The MF has been warning of severe deterioration in the Palestinian economy
  • ‘If there is an economic plan, if there is urgency, it’s a question of making sure that the momentum is sustained’

MANAMA: IMF chief Christine Lagarde said Wednesday that major economic growth was possible in the Palestinian territories if all sides showed urgency, as she took part in a US-led conference boycotted by the Palestinian leadership.
The International Monetary Fund has been warning of severe deterioration in the Palestinian economy, with tax revenue blocked in a dispute with Israel which has also imposed a crippling blockade on the Gaza Strip for more than a decade.
“If there is an economic plan, if there is urgency, it’s a question of making sure that the momentum is sustained,” said Lagarde.
The IMF chief is attending a conference in Bahrain to discuss the economic aspects of a United States plan for Israeli-Palestinian peace, which has already been rejected by the Palestinians as it fails to address key political issues.
Lagarde said for the US plan to work “it will require all the goodwill in the world on the part of all parties — private sector, public sector, international organizations and the parties on the ground and their neighbors.”
Citing examples of post-conflict countries, Lagarde said that private investors needed progress in several sectors including strengthening the central bank, better managing public finance and mobilizing domestic revenue.
“If anti-corruption is really one of the imperatives of the authorities — as it was in Rwanda, for instance — then things can really take off,” she said.
The plan presented by White House adviser Jared Kushner calls for $50 billion of investment in the Palestinian territories and its neighbors within a decade.
The proposals for infrastructure, tourism, education and more aim to create one million Palestinian jobs.
Gross domestic product in the Gaza Strip declined by eight percent last year, while there was only minor growth in the West Bank.
Kushner, opening the conference on Tuesday, called the plan the “Opportunity of the Century” — and said the Palestinians needed to accept it before a deal can be reached on political solutions.
The Palestinian Authority has rejected the conference, saying that the US and Israel are trying to dangle money to impose their ideas on a political settlement.
Washington says it will unveil the political aspects of its peace deal at a later date, most likely after Israel’s September election.