Economy & Politics

Column bill solutions for the bill giant Thyssenkrupp

Personal-Financial.com columnist Bernd ZiesemerMartin Kress

Finally some positive news from Thyssenkrupp: Since last week, you have been able to buy sweaters and jackets of the own brand “August & Alfred” in the factory café “Stulle & Stahl” in Duisburg – each decorated with a small piece of ornaments from an old smelting coat, the Steel workers at the blast furnace wear as protection against the high temperatures. The local press was blown away and even the “Bild” reported.

When it comes to reports like this, Thyssenkrupp shareholders do not know whether they should really laugh or cry. There have been such colorful stories from the ailing group over the past few years. For a while, the managers at the Essen headquarters only wore Adidas trainers in the company’s blue color, a former boss had himself photographed for the press doing Chinese tai chi contortions and his successor in a container that became a “real Ruhr area -Kneipe “had been stylized. In the meantime, the company’s share fell and fell by a quarter in the last month alone.

A strategy for a sustainable turnaround is nowhere to be found in Essen – especially not for the steel sector, which is destroying a three-digit million sum month after month. Many future ideas that you hear from the company are reminiscent of will-o’-the-wisps in the dark. For example the whole debate about “climate-neutral steel”. Not that the idea is fundamentally wrong, on the contrary: In the long term, the group could perhaps differentiate itself. But before that happens, billions in investments will be required over many years, which Thyssenkrupp cannot raise at all in its current state. The “cooperation partners” and “buyers” that have been brought into play again and again from Essen turn out to be air numbers on closer inspection – unless Thyssenkrupp donates so much capital for a merger that there is practically nothing left for the future of the rest of the group .

Pseudo solutions for a pseudo giant – this heading could also be put over the latest idea of ​​the works council and IG Metall. The functionaries have been campaigning for a “state participation” in the company for a few weeks, without saying exactly what it is actually supposed to bring, apart from further billions, which would probably trickle away like the 17 billion euros from the sale of the elevator division to do. State participation can certainly be useful in exceptional crisis situations – see Lufthansa. But Thyssenkrupp is by no means about the consequences of the corona crisis. The steel sector was already in a deep crisis before the pandemic and will not recover on its own even after it. Anyone who speaks the word for “state participation”, as large sections of the SPD do, would have to honestly confess that a state company would be created. A scenario for a re-exit after participation would simply be inconceivable. A permanent loss-maker, which is funded from the state treasury in the long run, that cannot be the solution. Not even to save jobs.

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