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Germany

ThyssenKrupp sees major losses in fiscal year 2012

The German steelmaker ThyssenKrupp AG has taken a record fiscal-year hit of 5 billion euros. The company therefore eclipses its record loss of 1.8 billion euros from the previous year.

The Essen-based company announced that the bulk of that loss comes from a write-down of 3.6 billion euros ($4.66 billion) for its Steel America unit following a reassessment prompted by efforts to sell plants in the United States and Brazil.

"Through this, we have lost trust and credibility," said the company's head, Heinrich Hiesinger, who called the drop an "immense financial hit."

"Consequently, we are establishing a new leadership culture based on honesty, transparency and achievement," Hiesinger said.

The company announced a net loss attributable to shareholders of 4.7 billion euros and is canceling its dividend for 2011-12. Last year, even amid then record losses of 1.8 billion euros, shareholders still received 45 euro cents for each holding.

Monday's figures were the company's worst performance since Thyssen and Krupp merged in 1999.

ThyssenKrupp announced on December 6 that it was terminating the contracts of three of its six management board members - Olaf Berlien, Edwin Eichler and Jürgen Claasen - amid allegations of corruption and price-fixing.

Eichler was blamed for grossly miscalculating the costs involved with new steelworks built for the Steel America offshoot in the US and Brazil - the assets written down to make up the bulk of the disappointing 2012 figures.

The company is currently trying to restructure its portfolio, moving away from its old staple steel in a bid to exploit more profitable markets like its emerging elevator and engineering businesses.

msh/dr (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)