Thyssen gets interest for Brazil, U.S. plants: report

Sat Jun 2, 2012 6:14pm EDT
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FRANKFURT (Reuters) - ThyssenKrupp (TKAG.DE: Quote) has attracted interest from Brazil's Vale (VALE5.SA: Quote) and South Korea's Posco (005490.KS: Quote) for its struggling steel plants in Brazil and the United States, German weekly WirtschaftsWoche reported.

Citing company sources, the magazine said Vale, which already owns 27 percent of the Brazilian plant CSA, would be interested in buying the rest of the joint venture, which has saddled Germany's biggest steelmaker with heavy losses.

A Vale representative said on Saturday the company did not want to buy a controlling stake in any steel mill. But she did not rule out the company increasing its stake in CSA, so long as it did not become the majority stakeholder.

Vale, the world's second largest mining company, has long seen its business as mining, although it takes minority stakes in steel projects to stimulate production in Brazil and to create demand for its ore.

In May, Vale's chief executive told analysts the company "does not want to become a steelmaker" when asked about the sale of CSA.

Taking a majority stake and operating a steel mill would be a major shift in Vale policy. The company stopped owning and operating steel mills about 10 years ago.

POSCO has shown interest in Thyssen's mill in Alabama, according to an excerpt of a story to be published in the German magazine's Monday edition.

Posco, with partners Dongkuk and Vale, is building the CSP steel slab plant in Brazil's northeastern port city of Pecem. That plant produces a similar product to the ThyssenKrupp plant in Rio de Janeiro, but is more than a day and a half closer by boat to the Alabama plant.

ThyssenKrupp was not immediately available for comment.   Continued...

The logo of German industrial conglomerate ThyssenKrupp AG is seen outside Gate 1 to the ThyssenKrupp steelworks in the western German city of Duisburg May 31, 2012. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay