Tata Steel on Wednesday said its deal with German steel giant Thyssenkrupp to merge their steel operations in Europe in a 50:50 joint venture will help it grow faster and double capacity. He described the partnership as a "momentous" occasion and said that the strategic logic of the proposed JV was based on very strong fundamentals."I am confident that thyssenkrupp Tata Steel will have a great future", he said.
"Under the planned joint venture, we are giving the European steel activities of thyssenkrupp and Tata a lasting future".
Tata Steel, in a statement, said that the deal will not involve any cash, instead, both groups will contribute debt and liabilities to achieve an equal shareholding to remain long-term investors.
The two groups said the memorandum of understanding is a preliminary agreement and will be called Thyssenkrupp Tata Steel upon completion.
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Natarajan Chandrasekaran, chairman of Tata Steel, said: "The Tata group and Thyssenkrupp have a strong heritage in the global steel industry and share similar culture and values".
With this deal, both the companies will be able to form a strong number 2 player in the European steel market.
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Tata blamed £1m a day losses on cheap imports of Chinese steel, high energy costs, and weak demand.
"Thyssenkrupp Tata Steel would have robust capital structure that is well matched by underlying free cash flows of the company".
However of course, as always, the devil will be in the detail and we are seeking further assurances on jobs, investment and future production across the United Kingdom operations.
The new company will seek to improve capacity utilisation across its three hubs - Ijmuiden in the Netherlands, Duisburg in Germany and Port Talbot in the United Kingdom, not forgetting their related downstream facilities. Under the agreement, both the companies will have 50% stake in the newly formed entity.
The British government and unions said they welcomed the merger so long as commitments made by Tata Steel UK to safeguard jobs and extend blast furnace operations at Britain's largest steelworks in Port Talbot, Wales, were maintained.
ThyssenKrupp said the combined companies would start to review its production network in 2020, to identify further savings and integration opportunities.
The deal will require approval of Thyssenkrupp's supervisory board, Tata Steel's board of directors and European regulators.
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