ThyssenKrupp’s CEO, Heinrich Hiesinger, has been struggling since last year to reach an agreement to merge his industrial group’s European steel business with that of India’s Tata Steel. The merger plan, part of ThyssenKrupp’s strategy to focus on heavy equipment and other non-steel divisions deemed more potentially profitable, has been met with resistance by German trade unionists, who fear a merger will put at risk 27,000 steel jobs that have traditionally been considered part of the core of ThyssenKrupp’s business.
Now, Mr. Hiesinger faces a new challenge in his effort to move away from ThyssenKrupp’s steel business: its growing profitability.
In the first nine months of ThyssenKrupp’s 2017 financial year, which ends in September, earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) in the steel division rose by 70 percent year over year to reach €352 million ($414 million). As a whole, ThyssenKrupp generated an adjusted EBIT of almost €1.4 billion, an increase of 37 percent.