Kloeckner & Co says not preparing offer for Thyssenkrupp unit

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FRANKFURT (Reuters) – German steel distributor Kloeckner & Co is not working on a bid for Thyssenkrupp’s Materials Services unit, a spokesman for the company said in response to a media report.

German monthly Manager Magazin earlier reported that Kloeckner CEO Gisbert Ruehl would soon propose a joint venture under the leadership of his company, taking advantage of growing shareholder criticism over Thyssenkrupp’s slow turnaround.

“There are currently neither talks between Kloeckner & Co and Thyssenkrupp over a tie-up with the Material Services division nor are we preparing an offer for it,” a Kloeckner & Co spokesman said.

Ruehl had said in October that parts of Thyssenkrupp’s Materials Services, which generates more than twice the annual sales of Kloeckner, would be a good strategic fit.

The difference in value of the two businesses would be compensated for via a cash payment from Kloeckner & Co as part of Ruehl’s potential proposal, Manager Magazin said, not elaborating further.

About two thirds of Materials Services’ 13.8 billion euros (£12.1 billion) in sales come from Thyssenkrupp’s materials distribution business, which competes with Kloeckner, Salzgitter and U.S.-listed Reliance Steel & Aluminum.

(Reporting by Christoph Steitz; Editing by Maria Sheahan)

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