A ThyssenKrupp employee takes a probe out of a furnace at the company’s steel plant in Duisburg, Germany (Photographer: Wolfgang von Brauchitsch/Bloomberg News)

Thyssenkrupp Expects Decision on Tata Steel Venture by End-June

(Bloomberg) -- Thyssenkrupp AG said it expects to decide on the planned merger with Tata Steel Ltd.’s European steel businesses by the end of June, missing a previous goal of signing early this year.

Due diligence work on the deal is almost completed and “we expect that the boards will decide on the joint venture within the first half of this year,” Thyssenkrupp said in a statement Thursday.

The firms are working out details of the joint venture, which was announced last year and would consolidate the units into Europe’s No. 2 steelmaker. A plan to give Tata’s Dutch plant certain operational privileges after the merger had become a sticking point for Thyssenkrupp, people familiar with the matter said last month.

Thyssenkrupp’s announcement followed a meeting earlier Thursday, in which several members of its supervisory board criticized management for the slow pace of the talks with Tata and questioned problems at the Indian company’s European operations, according to people familiar with the matter. 

Critical questions centered on the pension burden at Tata’s Port Talbot steel plant in Wales and the special rights of its Dutch plant, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private.

A spokesman for Thyssenkrupp declined to comment.

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