Germany’s ThyssenKrupp and Finland’s Outokumpu are in talks over a possible merger of their stainless steel businesses.
It would be a long-expected consolidation as steelmakers struggle with the economic downturn, competition from Asia and overcapacity.
ThyssenKrupp, which is Germany’s biggest steelmaker, wants to sell some of its non-core assets to pay down more than three and a half billion euros of debt.
Outokumpu Chief Executive Mika Seitovirta said last November that the European stainless steel industry needs consolidation and capacity cuts to cope with lack of big orders, lower prices and imports from Asia.
He said at the time that Outokumpu would want to be “in the driver’s seat” of such consolidation.