NEW YORK ThyssenKrupp AG
is aiming to sign a sales agreement for its Steel Americas
division by May, the German steelmakers top executive
said Feb. 12 as the struggling unit logged another quarter in
"We are always very clear that
we can control the (sales) process until signing, at least to a
certain extent, (and) weve always said that well
put all efforts to come to such a situation somewhere in May,"
chairman and chief executive officer Heinrich Hiesinger said
during the companys fiscal first-quarter earnings
"Our Steel Americas exit is well
on schedule," he added.
While the company aims to sign a
sales agreement by May, closing on the potential deal will take
more time, Hiesinger said. Bidding on the unit has closed, but
the company has previously said a potential sale could take
until 2014 to conclude (
amm.com, Oct. 9).
Talk of a more concrete sales
time line comes as the Steel Americas unit recorded another
quarter in the red.
The divisionwhich includes
a Brazilian slab mill and a rolling mill in Calvert,
Ala.recorded negative adjusted earnings before interest
and taxes (Ebit) of 87 million ($117 million) for the
three months ended Dec. 31, a nearly 70-percent improvement
from negative adjusted Ebit of 288 million in the same
2011 period but still keeping the division well under water.
Sales in the region totaled 488 million ($656.4 million),
down 2 percent from 498 million in the same
The Steel Americas
divisions order intake fell 4 percent year over year "in
a difficult business environment," according to the Essen,
Germany-based company. The Brazilian slab mill produced about
900,000 tons in the fiscal first quarter, which it supplied to
the U.S. rolling mill and its European facilities, as well as
customers in Brazil and North America, it said. The division
sold a total of 600,000 tons of flat steel to North American
customers during the same period, it added.
But despite the challenging
quarter, ThyssenKrupp chief financial officer Guido Kerkhoff
said inventory levels look poised to decrease in the near term,
lending the struggling unit some support.
For "the Steel Americas
(operations), we see strong development. Although the business
is ramping up with higher shipments overall, we see that the
inventories overall in tons are going down," he said. "This
clearly shows we see operational improvements and that ... we
could reduce the slab inventory levels significantly."
The Steel Americas unit, put on
the auction block last year as the steelmaker looked to cut
costs, has garnered interest from several domestic and
international competitors. A number of potential bidders have
confirmed some level of interest in the assets, including
Luxembourg-based ArcelorMittal SA (
amm.com, Jan. 9), U.S. Steel Corp. (
amm.com, Jan. 30), Ternium SA (
amm.com, Jan. 29) and Charlotte, N.C.-based Nucor
Last year, the steelmaker listed
its Steel Americas division as a discontinued operation, taking
a 3.6-billion ($4.7-billion) write-down on the assets (
amm.com, Dec. 11).
Despite the Steel Americas loss,
ThyssenKrupp as a whole recorded a positive financial quarter,
reporting net income attributable to ThyssenKrupps
shareholders of 35 million ($47.1 million) in contrast to
a net loss of 460 million in the corresponding quarter
the previous year. Net sales for the overall company fell to
8.8 billion ($11.8 billion) from nearly 9.6 billion
($12.9 billion) in the same comparison.