February 9, 2017 / 8:36 AM / 8 months ago

Thyssenkrupp says must give Tata time to work out UK pensions

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Tata Steel (TISC.NS) must be given time to work on a solution for its British steel pension liabilities in preparation for a possible merger with Thyssenkrupp’s (TKAG.DE) European steel business, Thyssenkrupp’s finance chief said on Thursday.

A company logo is seen outside the Tata steelworks near Rotherham in Britain, in this March 30, 2016 file photo. REUTERS/Phil Noble/File Photo

“You see substantial progress... There is something afoot and one must give Tata time to work it out,” Guido Kerkhoff told journalists on a conference call after the German industrial group reported first-quarter results.

UK steelworkers’ unions have given their backing to a plan to close the 15 billion-pound pension fund to future accruals, but Germany’s Thyssenkrupp wants the fund separated from the operational business before merger talks can progress.

“This is a necessary but not a sufficient step,” Kerkhoff said on the call.

Reporting by Georgina Prodhan; Editing by Maria Sheahan

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