Exclusive Exclusive: ThyssenKrupp Stands by Profit Forecast Despite Falling Steel Prices

Heinrich Hiesinger, the chief executive of ThyssenKrupp, told Handelsblatt he stands by his forecast of an adjusted operating profit between €1.6 billion and €1.9 billion in 2016 despite major challenges for the European steel industry. The forecast, which he first made in November 2015, will hold if “the raw materials business will recover significantly during the second half of the fiscal year,” Mr. Hiesinger said in a Handelsblatt interview ahead of the technology and steel conglomerate’s annual general meeting on Friday. Prices for hot-rolled wide strip steel, the most important type, have been falling since April 2015. Excess capacities in Europe as well as growing imports of cheap steel from China and unfavorable government policy have changed the steel industry “dramatically,” he said. “Our raw materials businesses can’t escape from this at the moment. Whatever effort we make to save money, it’s catching up with us in no time,” Mr. Hiesinger added. The manager repeated his call for consolidation within the industry. He did not name specific candidates, but said mergers between competitors are more likely than a hostile takeover at the moment. Because consolidation reduces capacities, it would improve the situation for the European steel industry as a whole, he added.   Read the full story in Thursday’s Handelsblatt Global Edition at 12:00 CET. Photo: Reuters