Thyssenkrupp, Tata Steel sign landmark steel joint venture deal

The joint venture forms the core of Thyssenkrupp CEO Heinrich Hiesinger’s, above, plan to turn his steel-to-submarines conglomerate into a technology company. (Reuters)
Updated 30 June 2018
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Thyssenkrupp, Tata Steel sign landmark steel joint venture deal

  • It is the largest deal in Europe’s steel industry since the takeover of Arcelor by Mittal in 2006
  • The deal comes as European steel makers face tariffs of 25 percent on their exports to the US, their biggest market

FRANKFURT/DUESSELDORF: Germany’s Thyssenkrupp and India’s Tata Steel signed a final agreement on Saturday to establish a long-expected steel joint venture, the European steel industry’s biggest shake-up in more than a decade.
The final agreement comes after months of negotiations since an initial agreement was announced in September. Both companies hope it will help them respond to challenges in the volatile steel industry, including overcapacity.
The largest deal in Europe’s steel industry since the takeover of Arcelor by Mittal in 2006, the 50-50 joint venture — to be named Thyssenkrupp Tata Steel — will have about 48,000 workers and about €17 billion ($19.9 billion) in sales.
Based in the Netherlands, it will be the continent’s second-largest steelmaker after ArcelorMittal. It forms the core of Thyssenkrupp CEO Heinrich Hiesinger’s plan to turn his steel-to-submarines conglomerate into a technology company.
“The joint venture not only addresses the challenges of the European steel industry,” Hiesinger said. “It is the only solution to create significant additional value of around 5 billion euros for both Thyssenkrupp and Tata Steel due to joint synergies which cannot be realized in a stand-alone scenario.”
Tata Steel Chairman Natarajan Chandrasekaran, in a separate statement, said the joint venture will create “a strong pan- European steel company that is structurally robust and competitive.”
The deal comes as European steel makers face tariffs of 25 percent on their exports to the US, their biggest market. That might force local market to absorb more volume as a result.
Since the tariffs were announced in late May, shares in European steelmakers ArcelorMittal, Thyssenkrupp, Salzgitter and Voestalpine have lost 8 to 17 percent.
Hiesinger had faced pressure from activist shareholders Cevian and Elliott to extract more commitments from Tata Steel, whose European business has performed worse than Thyssen’s since the agreement was first announced, creating a valuation gap.
Thyssenkrupp said the deal included “proper compensation” for the gap, which it said was in the mid-triple-digit million- euro range: if the joint venture makes a widely expected initial public offering it would get a bigger share of the proceeds.
Thyssenkrupp said it also secured the right to decide when a listing might take place, adding the joint venture was aiming for a dividend payout in the low-to-mid-triple-digit million- euro range.
The German group also said it now expects annual synergies of €400 million to €500 million from the transaction. It said additional synergies were possible through managing capital expenditure and optimizing working capital.
Tata Steel will remain liable for environmental risks in Britain, where its Port Talbot factory, the least profitable of the joint venture, is based, said Markus Grolms, vice chairman of Thyssenkrupp’s supervisory board.
He also said that Tata Steel’s Dutch unit would be part of the joint venture’s cash-pooling mechanism. That had been a key demand for German workers concerned that Tata would give its own workers better conditions in the new company.
“Yes, we do want to protect people. But we also want a company with better chances and less risks,” Grolms said.
Thyssenkrupp’s management will present a refined strategy to its supervisory board in the second week of July. Sources said that may include a sale of its Materials Services unit and further cost cuts.


UK core pay growth strongest in nearly 11 years, but jobs growth slows

Data showed the unemployment rate remained at 3.8 percent as expected. (Shutterstock)
Updated 16 July 2019
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UK core pay growth strongest in nearly 11 years, but jobs growth slows

  • Core earnings have increased by 3.6 percent annually, beating the median forecast of 3.5 percent
  • The unemployment rate fell by 51,000 to just under 1.3 million

LONDON: British wages, excluding bonuses, rose at their fastest pace in more than a decade in the three months to May, official data showed, but there were some signs that the labor market might be weakening. Core earnings rose by an annual 3.6 percent, beating the median forecast of 3.5 percent in a Reuters poll of economists. Including bonuses, pay growth also picked up to 3.4 percent from 3.2 percent, stronger than the 3.1 percent forecast in the poll. Britain’s labor market has been a silver lining for the economy since the Brexit vote in June 2016, something many economists attribute to employers preferring to hire workers that they can later lay off over making longer-term commitments to investment. The pick-up in pay has been noted by the Bank of England which says it might need to raise interest rates in response, assuming Britain can avoid a no-deal Brexit. Tuesday’s data showed the unemployment rate remained at 3.8 percent as expected, its joint-lowest since the three months to January 1975. The number of people out of work fell by 51,000 to just under 1.3 million. But the growth in employment slowed to 28,000, the weakest increase since the three months to August last year and vacancies fell to their lowest level in more than a year. Some recent surveys of companies have suggested employers are turning more cautious about hiring as Britain approaches its new Brexit deadline of Oct. 31. Both the contenders to be prime minister say they would leave the EU without a transition deal if necessary. A survey published last week showed that companies were more worried about Brexit than at any time since the decision to leave the European Union and they planned to reduce investment and hiring. “The labor market continues to be strong,” ONS statistician Matt Hughes said. “Regular pay is growing at its fastest rate for nearly 11 years in cash terms and its quickest for over three years after taking account of inflation.” The BoE said in May it expected wage growth of 3 percent at the end of this year.