FRANKFURT (Reuters) - German metals trader Kloeckner & Co (KCOGn.DE) is not in talks with larger rival Thyssenkrupp (TKAG.DE) about a tie-up, Kloeckner & Co’s chief executive said on Wednesday, quashing speculation about a deal in the near term.
Sources told Reuters in August that Thyssenkrupp and Kloeckner & Co were discussing future cooperation in materials trading, but were not working on a takeover of Kloeckner.
“There are currently no talks,” Gisbert Ruehl told journalists during a conference call following third-quarter results.
“And we don’t expect that there will be a significant change,” Ruehl said, adding Kloeckner & Co currently had “no big interest” in consolidation.
Ruehl said the group was more focused on fixing its own operational problems following a recent profit warning, adding it was in a wait-and-see mode with regard to Thyssenkrupp’s Materials Services division.
“Going forward, in principle, I would not rule anything out. But we have to see what the final strategy of Thyssen in the end is, which is, I think, at least currently not 100% clear,” Ruehl told analysts.
He said a merger of Kloeckner & Co and Thyssenkrupp Materials Services - Thyssenkrupp’s largest division by sales and about twice the size of its smaller peer - would bring both synergies and expenses.
It would also not be an easy task with regard to corporate culture, Ruehl added. “But honestly I think in the next foreseeable future this is, in my point of view, no issue anyhow.”
A spokesman for Thyssenkrupp declined to comment.
Shares in Kloeckner & Co were down 1.8% while Thyssenkrupp’s stock was down 3.3% following the news.
There has been speculation for years about a tie-up between Kloeckner & Co and Thyssenkrupp Materials Services, boosted recently by a major restructuring plan at Thyssenkrupp.
Additional reporting by Anneli Palmen in Duesseldorf; Editing by Thomas Escritt and Mark Potter