German steel industry needs state aid, alliances, IG Metall says

German steel industry needs state aid, alliances, IG Metall says

Reuters  | Sep 07, 2020 10:20

German steel industry needs state aid, alliances, IG Metall says

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Germany's steel industry needs state aid and deeper alliances to manage the shift toward green fuels for blast furnaces, Joerg Hofmann, head of Germany's largest union, IG Metall, told Reuters.

Steel companies including Thyssenkrupp (DE:TKAG) and Salzgitter (DE:SZZG) rely on coal for heating their blast furnaces but face pressure to shift toward renewable energy sources such as hydrogen as a way to cut their carbon emissions.

"For the switch to green steel, billions of investment spending is needed. The individual providers, whether it's Saarstahl, Salzgitter or Thyssenkrupp cannot do this on their own. A cooperation between the makers is a given," Hofmann said.

Despite the need for alliances, Hofmann cautioned that a broader consolidation involving takeovers could be risky, particularly if it involves a merger between Thyssenkrupp (DE:TKAG) and Salzgitter .

© Reuters. Thyssenkrupp's logo is seen outside elevator test tower in Rottweil

"You cannot strengthen a weakened company through a merger," Hofmann said. "Thyssenkrupp is a unique case which requires a special solution."

 

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