Thyssenkrupp, Tata Steel merging Europe steel operations

The European steel industry felt the biggest shake-up in more than a decade, as India's Tata Steel Ltd Germany's ThyssenKrupp signed a final agreement today to establish a long-expected steel joint venture. This follows the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding in September 2017.

The merged firm will boast 48,000 employees spread around 34 sites, producing around 21 million tonnes of steel per year for revenues of around 15 billion euros.

"It's good news for steel and trailblazing for our future", Thyssenkrupp Steel Europe boss Andreas Goss was quoted as saying by the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung and Welt am Sonntag newspapers.

Bosses hope the tie-up, which took more than two years to negotiate, will create between 400 and 500 million euros ($468-585 million) per year in savings.

The joint venture is part of Thyssenkrupp Chief Executive Officer Heinrich Hiesinger's goal to transform the steel-to-submarines conglomerate into a technology company.

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Tata Steel has wrested a 50 per cent stake in the European steel joint venture with Thyssenkrupp AG despite pressure from activist shareholders of the German major calling for a bigger pie of the business.

"We will create a highly competitive European steel player - based on a strong industrial logic and strategic rationale". Moreover, Thyssenkrupp will also have the right to exclusively decide on the timing of the IPO. "This is a significant milestone for Tata Steel and we remain fully committed to the long-term interest of the joint venture".

The deal comes as European steel makers face tariffs of 25 percent on their exports to the United States, their biggest market. In addition to hitting sales for European companies to the lucrative, high-value-added US market, the tariffs regime is expected to result in more steel being dumped onto the European market as low-priced producing countries such as China struggle to find a market for supplies.

Tata Steel and German firm Thyssenkrupp have agreed a merger deal. It combines the businesses of Tata Steel Europe and Thyssenkrupp Steel Europe as well as Thyssenkrupp's Mill Services business with integrated steel making facilities across Germany, Netherlands and the UK.

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