March 19 (Bloomberg) -- ThyssenKrupp AG, the German steelmaker struggling to rebuild after a failed expansion in the Americas, slumped the most in a year in Frankfurt trading on speculation it’s planning a capital increase.
ThyssenKrupp slid 5.5 percent, the steepest drop since March last year, to 17.365 euros as of the close. The shares lost 43 percent of their value last year after the company wrote down 3.6 billion euros ($4.7 billion) and canceled its dividend for the first time.
The steelmaker is considering a capital increase of more than one billion euros, Handelsblatt reported earlier today. Kilian Roetzer, a spokesman for ThyssenKrupp, declined to comment on the report. Trading volumes were almost three times the daily average of the past three months.
“ThyssenKrupp needs a capital increase, it cannot survive without it,” Hans-Peter Wodniok, an analyst at Fairesearch GmbH & Co KG, said by phone from Kronberg near Frankfurt.
A possible obstacle to an increase is the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach Foundation, the company’s largest shareholder, whose 25.33 percent stake gives it a blocking minority in ThyssenKrupp. The foundation is headed by Berthold Beitz, a 99 year-old veteran German industrialist.
“The question is what the foundation will do,” said Wodniok. “It probably couldn’t participate in a capital increase,” he said.
Handelsblatt said Beitz may have been convinced of the necessity of the increase given the company’s finances. The foundation didn’t immediately return a call from Bloomberg News seeking comment.
Chief Executive Officer Heinrich Hiesinger is expanding the company’s non-steel business and cutting its business divisions to five from eight. ThyssenKrupp posted a net loss of 4.7 billion euros in the fiscal year ended Sept. 30.
Hiesinger, 52, is seeking to repair the damage from price-fixing and bribery scandals as well as the botched expansion in the Americas.
ThyssenKrupp unexpectedly announced on March 8 that Gerhard Cromme is stepping down on March 31 as chairman of the supervisory board. The Board approved Deutsche Telekom AG Chairman Ulrich Lehner as his successor today.
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