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ThyssenKrupp sells shipyards business

German heavy industry giant ThyssenKrupp said on Monday it had agreed to sell its non-military shipbuilding activities Blohm + Voss to British investment fund Star Capital Partners.

ThyssenKrupp sells shipyards business
Photo: DPA

The price was not disclosed, but sources familiar with dossier put it “in the region of €150 million” ($199 million).

ThyssenKrupp, which is active in steel, elevators, submarines and car parts, said it had decided to sell the activities as part of a drive to “optimise” its business portfolios.

The Blohm + Voss group of companies specialises in ship components, ship repair and conversion business, pipe-handling equipment and also the design and manufacture of high-end bespoke mega yachts.

It has annual sales of around €400 million and more than 1,500 employees, mostly in Hamburg.

“The sale is an important step in further focusing the activities of ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems. At the same time, the change of owner will help secure jobs and the future of shipbuilding at the various Blohm + Voss sites,” said Hans Christoph Atzpodien, head of ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems.

The deal, which is subject to approval by the competition authorities, is expected to be finalised in the first quarter of 2012.

In its own statement, Star Capital said Blohm + Voss was “one of the great brands in the marine industry”.

And its new owner pledged to “commit significant amounts of capital to the business to ensure that it is in a position to take advantage of growth opportunities in the future.”

“We are pleased to have acquired a world class German engineering business, one in which we intend to invest by providing a significant capital commitment to drive growth and job creation,” said Star Capital chief executive Tony Mallin.

AFP/mry

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STEEL

German steel giant rejects ‘high cost’ state support

German industrial giant Thyssenkrupp on Friday rejected state participation to support it during the pandemic, an option favoured by unions but judged too costly by management.

German steel giant rejects 'high cost' state support
Thyssenkrupp's offices in Duisberg. Photo: Ina Fassbender / dpa / AFP
“State participation off the table,” Klaus Keysberg, the group's financial director, told the German daily Rheinische Post on Friday.
   
Keysberg blamed “high costs” in the long term of government assistance, “due to the interest payments and the terms of repayment.”
   
Already weakened by years of cut-price competition from China in the steel industry, Thyssenkrupp has further struggled with the effects of the pandemic that caused business activity to plunge.
   
The company said in mid-November it would cut an additional 5,000 jobs as part of its restructuring plan, bringing the total to nearly 11,000, to be spread out over several years.
 
   
Thyssenkrupp chief executive Martina Merz has not ruled out state assistance.
   
The powerful IG Metall union had organised rallies in October to demand a rescue plan from Berlin.
   
But the government was never enthusiastic, despite their acquisition of stakes in the airline Lufthansa and tour operator TUI, which also had business ravaged by Covid-19.
   
“I don't believe that nationalisation is the right response at the moment,” Germany's Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said in October on Thyssenkrupp.   
 
But national and regional governments favour more traditional aid structures, such as subsidies, or moves to convert to production of so-called green steel.
   
Discussions will continue to find alternatives.
   
A takeover of Thyssenkrupp's steel activities is still on the cards. British steel giant Liberty, founded by industrialist Sanjeev Gupta, launched a takeover bid in October.
   
Discussions are also underway with Sweden's SSAB and India's Tata Steel.
   
An alliance with fellow German steelmaker Salzgitter to create a national steel champion is also being considered. But these options won't be decided until “spring 2021”, Thyssenkrupp said.
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