State aid decision on Thyssenkrupp will take time: Germany's Scholz

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BERLIN (Reuters) - Deciding on whether ailing conglomerate Thyssenkrupp TKAG.DE is eligible for state aid will be a lengthy task, Germany's Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said on Wednesday.

“The process of assessing this specific situation is starting now,” Scholz told Reuters on Wednesday, adding a thorough review was required that would take some time.

He declined to comment further.

Thyssenkrupp’s Chief Executive Martina Merz earlier this week said the firm will consider all options, including selling a stake to the German government, in its plans to fix its ailing steel unit.

Scholz said that the government had provided the framework to take stakes in corporations as a last resort as part of its efforts to fight the economic impact of the coronavirus crisis.

So far, that has only happened at Lufthansa, in which the government now owns a 20.05% stake via its Economic Stabilisation Fund (WSF).

Several other firms have applied for funds from the WSF, which has 100 billion euros ($118 billion) at its disposal to take equity stakes.

“That needs to be thoroughly assessed for every individual case,” Scholz said.

Reporting by Christian Kraemer; Writing by Christoph Steitz; Editing by Jan Harvey