Thyssenkrupp decides not to sell steel division to Liberty Steel

German industrial conglomerate Thyssenkrupp will not sell its steel division to Britain’s Liberty Steel, which had made a bid in October, the German firm announced on Wednesday.

The talks broke down because of differences of opinion about the division’s value and about the structure of the transaction, Thyssenkrupp said. It added it will now look for an approach to the division that works going into the future as part of Thyssenkrupp.

The steel division has suffered during the ongoing pandemic, registering a loss of nearly 1 billion euros (1.2 billion dollars) last year. But there have been recent rays of hopes: The first quarter of the 2020/21 fiscal year registered a profit of 22 million euros, up from a loss of 144 million euros a year earlier.

Additionally, car production in Germany is picking up pace, which will increase demand for steel at the same time as an uptick in demand from the construction industry and makers of household devices. A rise in the price of steel is also helping.

Thyssenkrupp had never ruled out keeping the company even as it reviewed Liberty Steel’s offer. Thyssenkrupp boss Martina Merz had previously said the offer involved a “series of complex topics.”

IG Metall, Germany’s largest union, had expressed concerns about the proposal from the start.

Thyssenkrupp has announced investments of 700 million euros into its steel division, with specific plans to upgrade plants in Bochum and Duisburg for the needs of the modern car industry. However, the company also plans to strike positions.

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