Germany's DAX-listed ThyssenKrupp said shareholders would have to be patient to see a strategic overhaul of the engineering firm come to a successful end. The company has been attempting to reduce its steel business.
Opening an annual meeting of German engineering heavyweight ThyssenKrupp on January 17, CEO Heinrich Hiesinger admitted the company's restructuring was taking more time than originally planned and asked shareholders to be patient and have confidence in the firm's future.
"This restructuring, this fundamental renewal, will take time," Hiesinger told investors, hinting to what had become a rather troublesome overhaul of the company in recent months.
In the three years under Hiesinger's control, ThyssenKrupp has been trying to shift from the volatile steel sector to higher-margin products and services such as elevators, industrial plants and high-performance car parts.
No change in strategy
The company's efforts to find a buyer for its Steel Americas business have only been successful partly. While being able to get rid of a processing plant in the US state of Alabama, the firm still owns a loss-making steel mill in Brazil.
As an added irritation, ThyssenKrupp had to take back part of its stainless steel business which it had sold to Finland's Outokumpu as the latter struggled to refinance.
"Our strategic decision to exit the stainless steel business still stands, even if we're now having to take the long way round," Hiesinger commented.