An employee wears protective clothing as sparks fly from a blast furnace at ThyssenKrupp AG’s steel plant in Duisburg, Germany. (Photographer: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg)

Tata, Thyssenkrupp Steel Venture Faces In-Depth EU Probe

(Bloomberg) -- Plans by Germany’s Thyssenkrupp AG and India’s Tata Steel Ltd. to set up a European steel company with equal shares of ownership face an in-depth European Union probe over concerns that the deal could reduce competition in the supply of various high-end steels.

The European Commission said in an emailed statement on Tuesday that its initial probe “raised several issues,” especially relating to combining the companies’ offer of “certain specialty flat carbon steel and electrical steel products.”

“We will carefully investigate the impact of the planned combination of Tata Steel’s and ThyssenKrupp’s steel businesses on effective competition in the steel markets,” EU Antitrust Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in the statement.

Key Insights

  • The companies reached a final agreement in June after talks over the venture had dragged on for more than a year and faced opposition from labor representatives, as well as activist shareholders
  • The company, under the proposed name of Thyssenkrupp Tata Steel B.V., would focus on high-quality flat steel production, the companies had said.
  • EU move comes as steelmakers are already struggling with trade barriers
  • EU sets March 19 deadline to issue final ruling on deal; only four European steelmakers providing steel for the auto industry: Arcelor, Thyssen, Tata, Voestalpine.