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ThyssenKrupp ‘of interest’ to U.S. Steel

Keywords: Tags  U.S. Steel, John Surma, ThyssenKrupp, bidding, ArcelorMittal, Cleveland, Indiana Harbor, Goldman Sachs Sal Tharani


CHICAGO — ThyssenKrupp AG’s assets in the Americas are “matters of interest” to U.S. Steel Corp., according to its top executive.

“We look at things that might be attractive within our business model and that would add value and things that are in the product ranges we’re familiar with and geographies that seem to have some regional association to where we are,” U.S. Steel chairman and chief executive officer John P. Surma said during a conference call with analysts Jan. 29 following the release of fourth-quarter earnings.

“These assets ... fit that criteria, and they’re matters of interest,” Surma said. “Anything specific beyond that, it’s hard for us to comment on within the rules that we’re operating under.”

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. analyst Sal Tharani asked during the call whether U.S. Steel might be interested in domestic operations currently owned by ArcelorMittal SA should the Luxembourg-based steelmaker bid successfully for ThyssenKrupp, which could prompt a U.S. Department of Justice requirement that ArcelorMittal divest some of its current facilities in the United States due to antitrust concerns. Tharani referred specifically to ArcelorMittal’s operations in Cleveland and Burns Harbor, Ind.

“That’s just a hypothetical,” Surma said, who reiterated what makes a facility attractive to U.S. Steel, including geography and product range. “Everything you just mentioned probably would fit that. I just would also observe that over the years we have looked at those things before—before the current owners had them.”

Surma dismissed Tharani’s question of whether acquiring a facility currently owned by ArcelorMittal would require U.S. Steel to boost iron ore production.

“It depends on a lot of different things,” Surma said. “If it’s just a coating line, it’s one thing. If it’s a blast furnace with a steel shop, it’s something else. ... It all depends on what it would be.”

An ArcelorMittal executive recently confirmed the company’s interest in ThyssenKrupp’s Calvert, Ala., facility (amm.com, Jan. 9).

ThyssenKrupp has said it aims to recoup the roughly €7-billion ($9.5-billion) book value of its Steel Americas assets—including the Calvert rolling mill and slab-making operations in Brazil—as it looks to find a buyer or partner for the unit (amm.com, Aug. 28).

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