Before the annual stockholders’ meeting of the industrial and steel group thyssenkrupp, group CEO heinrich hiesinger exchanged blows with the swedish co-shareholder cevian.
In an interview with "handelsblatt" he countered weeks of criticism from the investor, who with a stake of around 18 percent is thyssenkrupp’s second-largest stockholder.
The head of the swedish financial investor cevian, lars forberg, had previously called in an interview with the "borsen-zeitung" for a rapid breakup of the essen-based company: "whether this is best achieved through joint ventures, spin-offs or the borsengang of a subsidiary is a matter for the supervisory board and the board of management to decide together," he said.
"The structure of thyssenkrupp, with five divisions that don’t fit together and a water head of management, is solely a result of the history of the group. There are no synergies," said the co-founder of the investment company, which is known for its activist approach.
Hiesinger, on the other hand, referred to "responsible entrepreneurial action". However, against the background of continuing criticism of the group’s profitability targets, he also announced a revision of his targets in the spring of this year. "We will sharpen the strategy for the entire group and also adjust our financial targets," he told the "handelsblatt" newspaper.
Before the shareholders’ meeting planned for this friday, the fund manager of the investor union investment, ingo speich, also spoke out in an interview this week and called for a "far-reaching restructuring of the group. Thyssenkrupp was a "mixed bag" that many investors had little use for, speich told the "westdeutsche allgemeine zeitung" newspaper. There must now be a discussion "without taboos," he demanded.
Meanwhile, the vote by the group’s steel workforce on a collective agreement for the merger of the steel division with indian competitor tata is in full swing. More than 20.000 steelworkers are being called on to vote on the outcome of the negotiations, which among other things include far-reaching guarantees for locations and jobs.
The eagerly awaited results are to be announced on 5. To be presented in february. According to the plans of the group’s CEO, the planned merger is to be sealed this spring. Then thyssenkrupp will be a "different company", hiesinger announced.