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Thyssenkrupp labour leaders ready to talk as Tata decision looms


DUESSELDORF/FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Labour leaders at are willing to talk to management about an overhaul of the group's European operations, they said on Tuesday, but warned they remained opposed to a with

Chief Executive Heinrich Hiesinger is under pressure to present a deal to combine Thyssenkrupp's and Steel's European operations after talks have dragged on for a year and a half.

A is Hiesinger's preferred option, and the company said this week a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the companies could be reached this month.

Labour representatives however suggest the group carve out and list its healthy assets to avoid what they fear will result in thousands of job cuts.

"We want to hear what has to say. We want to know what has in mind," Wilhelm Segerath, head of Thyssenkrupp's works council and member of the group's supervisory board, said.

"A with is no solution. It only serves to dump debt from Thyssenkrupp's balance sheet. We won't support that," Segerath said, adding workers would protest against the plans on Sept. 22, two days before a supervisory board meeting.

Detlef Wetzel, head of Europe's supervisory board, said: "We want to know what the board is planning. We will evaluate that and then decide."

Cevian, Thyssenkrupp's second-largest shareholder and backer of Hiesinger, has not made up its mind about whether it will support his plans, a source familiar with the matter told following a report that said it was opposed.

Bjoern Voss, analyst at Warburg Research, said: "From what I understand Cevian and management have so far worked in a consensual way."

"I find it unrealistic that the board has been working against a coalition of labour representatives and parts of the capital side," he said.

Hiesinger's hopes to win support rest on a complex pension deal, under which has separated from its 15 billion pound ($19.9 billion) UK pension scheme, seen as the main hurdle to a deal so far.

Members of the scheme now have the choice of going into the Pension Protection Fund, a lifeboat for pension schemes in Britain that run into trouble, or joining a new scheme that will be underwritten by Steel, potentially leaving it exposed to some liabilities.

($1 = 0.7534 pounds)

(Reporting by Tom Kaeckenhoff and Georgina Prodhan; Writing by Christoph Steitz; editing by Susan Thomas)

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, September 12 2017. 22:06 IST