July 18, 2018 / 9:26 AM / a year ago

Keep ThyssenKrupp whole, German minister urges

FILE PHOTO: German Labour Minister Hubertus Heil arrives to the weekly cabinet meeting in Berlin, Germany, May 23, 2018. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

BERLIN (Reuters) - The German government opposes a break up of ThyssenKrupp (TKAG.DE), it said on Wednesday after the submarines-to-lifts conglomerate lost its two top officials following pressure from shareholders who want to see the group restructured.

Labour Minister Hubertus Heil said he was increasingly concerned about the situation at the company, telling Reuters that the sprawling business should be kept together for the sake of German jobs.

“We are following the situation at ThyssenKrupp intensively and with growing concern,” he said, urging managers to preserve the company as a whole and maintain jobs in Germany.

“All concerned should work together to strengthen ThyssenKrupp as a significant company in the German business world, thereby sparing jobs,” he said.

The company’s chairman and chief executive both resigned this month following pressure from activist shareholders demanding a restructuring of the conglomerate. The group’s share price has risen as investors bet on the greater likelihood of a breakup of the group.

A spokeswoman for the Economy Ministry echoed Heil’s remarks.

“The government’s aim is for ThyssenKrupp to remain an integrated industrial concern,” Tanja Alemany told a regular news conference.

Potential bidders for parts of the company could include Tata Steel (TISC.NS) and lift maker Kone (KNEBV.HE).

Reporting by Holger Hansen, writing by Thomas Escritt; Editing by Madeline Chambers and Susan Fenton

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