Thyssenkrupp resumes efforts to divest steel division -sources

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ThyssenKrupp AG annual results news conference in Essen

BERLIN/FRANKFURT (Reuters) -German industrial group Thyssenkrupp is making renewed efforts to divest its steel division and is working with Goldman Sachs to explore options, according to two people close to the matter.

The company, whose products range from car parts to submarines, had put the idea of spin-off of the business on ice last year following failed efforts to list, sell or find a merger partner for what is Europe's second-largest steelmaker.

One of the sources said the division could be valued at 1.5 billion euros ($1.6 billion), excluding pension obligations, which have come down significantly from the 4 billion euros tied to the business thanks to higher interest rates.

Thyssenkrupp believes that a standalone solution, whether a sale, merger or spin-off, is the best solution for the volatile steel business, which will require billions in investments over the coming years to switch to carbon-free production.

Hurdles to a sale include a lack of investment that has hurt its competitiveness and looming resistance by unions, which hold half the seats on Thyssenkrupp's supervisory board and wield major influence, particularly on steel, the sources said.

Interested parties include private equity group CVC, Brazil's CSN and India's Jindal Group, the two sources said. A separate source said that Jindal Steel And Power was not interested.

Thyssenkrupp shares were up 5% after the news, which was first reported by the Handelsblatt newspaper.

CVC has made an offer of 1 euro but would make investment commitments and assume pension liabilities of around 2.5 billion euros, the paper reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

Thyssenkrupp, CVC, CSN and Goldman Sachs declined to comment. Jindal Steel And Power had no immediate comment. JSW Steel, also part of the Jindal conglomerate, declined to comment.

A potential sale of Thyssenkrupp Steel Europe, long the mainstay of the German industrial giant, will be among the issues to be discussed at a supervisory board meeting scheduled for March 31, the people said.

They added that some labour representatives would prefer Thyssenkrupp to keep the business after seeing its fortunes decline due to a number of crises that led to the sale of its most profitable asset - elevators - in 2020.

($1 = 0.9313 euros)

(Reporting by Paul Carrel, Tom Kaeckenhoff, Christoph Steitz, Neha Arora, Alberto Alerigi Junior; Editing by Jason Neely and Catherine Evans)