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Klöckner set to exit all Eastern Europe assets

Keywords: Tags  Klöckner, Gisbert Rühl, Eastern Europe, sale, divestiture, Poland, Lithuania, Czech Republic Bulgaria

CHICAGO — Klöckner & Co. SE plans to sell its remaining operations in Eastern Europe to local competitors by the end of the first quarter.

The move comes as the German steel and metal products distributor says it has stepped up efforts to restructure its activities in Europe amid the region’s weak economic outlook.

Klöckner said Friday that it expects to complete the sale of its Polish and Lithuanian assets during the first quarter of 2013. It did not disclose the buyers or the financial terms of the deal, which it said remains subject to approval by antitrust authorities.

Klöckner’s Eastern European operations have annual sales of approximately €100 million ($132 million), or 1.4 percent of company sales, with 255 workers at 14 locations, it said.

“We are making faster progress than expected in implementing our restructuring program, in which a total of 60 sites will be closed or sold and the work force reduced by 1,800 employees. The sale of the Eastern European operations is another important milestone in it,” Gisbert Rühl, Klöckner’s chairman of the management board, said in a statement.

In the first phase of the restructuring, Klöckner sold its facilities in the Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Romania. By the end of the third quarter, 20 sites and 800 jobs cuts had been made, the company said.

Last year, Klöckner merged its North American distribution network (Namasco) with Newport Beach, Calif.-based Macsteel Service Centers USA Inc. In contrast to Europe, where weak demand has hurt the company’s bottom line, Klöckner has said it continues to see growth in the United States (, Nov. 8).

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