Thyssenkrupp raises annual outlook for first time since 2017

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – German conglomerate Thyssenkrupp on Wednesday raised its full-year outlook for the first time in nearly four years, boosted by a recovery at its steel unit that could strengthen the case for a spin-off.

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Thyssenkrupp is seen near elevators in its headquarters in Essen, Germany, November 21, 2019. REUTERS/Leon Kuegeler

“In a continuing uncertain market environment, we had a good first quarter: we’re noticing signs of an economic recovery and our measures to improve performance in the businesses are starting to bear fruit,” CEO Martina Merz said.

The group now expects to almost break even on an adjusted operating profit level, having previously forecast a mid-triple-digit million euro loss in the year to September.

Its steel division, which could be sold, spun off or kept, swung to an adjusted operating profit of 20 million euros ($24 million) in the first quarter, compared with a loss of 127 million a year earlier.

The unit, which has drawn a bid from Britain’s Liberty Steel, now expects to nearly break even this fiscal year, compared with a low triple-digit million euro loss previously expected.

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Thyssenkrupp Steel Europe is currently cutting 3,000 jobs and more jobs are at risk, the company said.

Thyssenkrupp “might have turned the ship just in time”, a Frankfurt-based trader said, adding that the company’s operating units were profitable in the quarter. “Almost can’t remember last time we have seen this.”

Thyssenkrupp’s Frankfurt-listed shares were 2.7% higher.

On a group level, adjusted operating profit came in at 78 million euros in the October-December quarter, a level that will decline in the January-March period, the company said.

($1 = 0.8248 euros)

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