August 16, 2017 / 11:04 AM / a year ago

Thyssenkrupp says it has no timeline on Tata Steel joint-venture deal

DUESSELDORF, Germany, Aug 16 (Reuters) - Thyssenkrupp has no timeline to make a final decision on a potential merger of its European steel operations with those of peer Tata Steel, a spokesman for the group said.

He was commenting on a report in German daily Boersen-Zeitung, which cited sources at Thyssenkrupp as saying no decision would be made until at least Sept. 8 following a deal regarding Tata Steel’s UK pension liabilities.

This is when a 28-day deadline for objections against the agreement ends.

Tata received regulatory approval last week for a deal to cut its UK pension scheme liabilities, which was seen paving the way for a possible merger between its British and European steel businesses and those of Thyssenkrupp.

“Thyssenkruppp has, in the past, pointed out that any agreement in this context has to be thoroughly examined before an assessment,” a spokesman said on Wednesday. “We will take the necessary time for this examination.”

Thyssenkrupp said last week it would not be rushed into any deal with Tata, pouring cold water on investor hopes for a quick agreement.

The German steel-to-elevators group is facing pressure from investors to deliver on the tie-up, after talks have been going on for over a year.

Sources familiar with the matter said that a memorandum of understanding between the two groups could be the next step in negotiations, enabling the process of due diligence, which includes valuing assets, a complex process that can take months. ($1 = 0.7769 pounds) (Reporting by Tom Kaeckenhoff; Writing by Maria Sheahan and Christoph Steitz; editing by Susan Thomas)

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