A merger of the German manufacturers is a “serious option,” said Pinkwart on Friday in a current hour of the North Rhine-Westphalian state parliament. However, Salzgitter AG, the second largest German steel manufacturer, rejects a merger with the ailing industry leader thyssenkrupp.
Pinkwart reiterated his reservations about the state’s participation in the steel division of Thyssenkrupp, as demanded by the SPD and IG Metall. “The state government is of the opinion that the company’s problems will not be easy to solve with state participation,” said the FDP politician. Pinkwart referred to Lufthansa. The state got into the airline and still thousands of jobs were cut there. The expectation that “if the state participates, the problems will be solved by themselves and will be clearly refuted there”.
The SPD and the Greens accused the state government of not having a concept for supporting Thyssenkrupp. The announcements made by Prime Minister Armin Laschet (CDU) have so far been “completely vague,” criticized FDP parliamentary group deputy André Stinka. “We finally need decisive and firm political action by the state government,” said Matthi Bolte-Richter for the Greens. The AfD’s economic policy spokesman, Christian Loose, said that Thyssenkrupp’s areas of business, such as the supply of steel to the auto industry, had been systematically destroyed by German politics with its course against the internal combustion engine.
According to Pinkwart, the “only feasible way” for short-term support for the company is money from the economic stabilization fund. The prerequisite, however, is “that the company was not already in need of renovation before the corona pandemic,” emphasized the Minister of Economic Affairs. Thyssenkrupp has not yet submitted an application for aid from the fund. However, there were talks between the company and the federal government, which the state supports. Thyssenkrupp had sold its elevator business for more than 17 billion euros immediately before the start of the Corona crisis and wanted to use it to restructure the group.
The group announced last week that it would tighten the downsizing. Instead of 6,000, 11,000 jobs are to be cut in the next three years. Compulsory redundancies, which Thyssenkrupp in Germany have previously avoided, are no longer excluded. For the steel division, however, there is a job guarantee until 2026.
CEO Martina Merz is exploring cooperation with other steel manufacturers in Europe and examining a takeover offer from the British group Liberty Steel for the steel division. Going it alone with steel is still possible. A decision on how to proceed with Thyssenkrupp’s steel is to be made in March of next year.