ThyssenKrupp AG (TKA) is in talks to sell its Alabama plant to ArcelorMittal and Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp., who have teamed up in a joint bid, according to two people familiar with the matter.
The companies aim to reach an agreement in the coming weeks, though the discussions could still fall apart, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the negotiations are private. Essen, Germany-based ThyssenKrupp said yesterday in a statement it’s in exclusive talks for the plant’s potential sale and it delayed publishing full-year earnings until Dec. 2.
The German steelmaker had been in discussions to sell the Alabama plant and a Brazilian steel mill to Cia. Siderurgica Nacional SA, people familiar with the matter said in September. ThyssenKrupp was considering keeping the Brazilian plant because the bids it received were too low, the people said at the time. The Alabama site may fetch about $1.5 billion, the people said at the time.
A spokesman for Luxembourg-based ArcelorMittal (MT) and Robin Zimmermann, a spokesman for Essen-based ThyssenKrupp, declined to comment on the sale. Tsuyoshi Yoshizumi, a Tokyo-based spokesman at Nippon Steel, also declined to comment.
The U.S. and Brazilian plants, which comprise ThyssenKrupp’s Americas unit, cost almost $12 billion to build. After a series of writedowns following a slump in steel prices, the segment now has a book value of 3.4 billion euros ($4.6 billion). ThyssenKrupp is projected to report a third straight annual net loss amid its unprofitable steel investments in the Americas and after bribery and price-fixing scandals.
Reuters reported yesterday that ThyssenKrupp may seek to raise capital, citing two unidentified bankers familiar with the matter.
The mill complex in Rio de Janeiro has an annual crude-steel capacity of 5 million metric tons. The Alabama plant has capacity to produce hot-rolled, cold-rolled and coated sheet steel. ThyssenKrupp said yesterday that the talks for the sale of the Alabama plant include a long-term contract for the supply of steel slab produced in Brazil.
ThyssenKrupp dropped 0.1 percent to 19.40 euros in Frankfurt yesterday and have advanced 9.2 percent this year.
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