July 31, 2018 / 10:05 PM / 9 months ago

Thyssenkrupp investor Elliott says divisions should have more say

FILE PHOTO: Thyssenkrupp's logo is seen close to the elevator test tower in Rottweil, Germany, September 25, 2017. REUTERS/Michaela Rehle/File Photo

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Activist investor Elliott wants Thyssenkrupp (TKAG.DE) to give its business divisions more autonomy to pursue promising ventures, an Elliott executive told German daily Die Welt, following a leadership crisis at the German engineering group.

Interim executives are taking the helm at Thyssen after CEO Heinrich Hiesinger and Chairman Ulrich Lehner resigned in July. Both had been at odds with investors demanding an overhaul of the industrial conglomerate.

“To become more successful, what Thyssenkrupp needs (is) more freedom to act by the corporate divisions, a more entrepreneurial approach, leaner headquarters and a more agile, flexible structure to seize opportunities,” Elliott executive Franck Tuil told newspaper Die Welt.

He cited joint ventures, a more streamlined portfolio or acquisitions as possible opportunities.

In the interview, Tuil reiterated previous statements by Elliott that the activist investor was not seeking a wholesale break-up of Thyssen, though smaller divestments could be on the cards, he said. Elliott owns a stake of below 3 percent in the German conglomerate, according to its latest filings.

Thyssen, which is combining its steel business with rival Tata Steel (TISC.NS), earlier cut its full-year profit forecast on cost overruns at plant engineering and ship building projects.

Reporting by Ludwig Burger; editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise

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