By: GEORGE FREY
FRANKFURT — German steelmaker ThyssenKrupp AG
said Friday it expects to lay off more workers after
shedding 11,000 jobs in the first nine months of
its fiscal year as it pursues cost-saving plans.
The company, however, stressed that it was
pressing ahead with new plants in the U.S. and Brazil.
ThyssenKrupp, which had 199,000 employees worldwide
at the end of the last fiscal year on Sept. 30, 2008,
has moved to reduce costs as the global downturn
cut sharply into demand for steel.
The Duesseldorf-based company, Germany's biggest
steelmaker, said it still expects further job losses
but declined to say how many.
Most of the cuts so far came outside Germany.
In addition, some 46,000 people have been
affected by shorter working hours as a result
of the economic crisis, 30,000 of them in Germany.
Employers' use of shorter work hours has been
credited with saving thousands of jobs
in Germany over recent months.
CEO Ekkehard Schulz said ThyssenKrupp's supervisory
board decided Friday to implement a new
restructuring program on Oct. 1 that should save
about euro500 million ($710 million) annually
in administrative costs.
Schulz said there would be savings in both fixed
and personnel costs, but did not elaborate.
That comes on top of the company's existing
cost-saving plan, which aims for savings
of more than euro1 billion in the current fiscal year.
Lower demand for machinery and cars in particular
during the downturn forced ThyssenKrupp
to cut its steel production.
The company reiterated it expects a pretax loss
for the full fiscal year "in the upper
three-digit million euro range."
Schulz told a news conference that
ThyssenKrupp's new steel facility near Mobile,
Alabama, would start producing in the spring
of next year at a reduced capacity and
initially would be supplied with
raw material from Germany.
ThyssenKrupp has not specified when
the stainless steel segment of the plant will
start production, and Schulz said managers
recommended that it stick to a flexible startup schedule.
Still, Schulz said that the company sees a
good chance of being the market leader
for stainless steel products in the
North American NAFTA region once
the economic downturn passes.
ThyssenKrupp also plans to start production
in mid-2010 at a new facility in Sepetiba, Brazil,
with a second furnace and converter being
added in 2011.
Schulz said the company could adapt
its plans to future market developments quickly.
He added ThyssenKrupp's board had approved
an increased investment by Brazilian ore producer
Companhia Vale do Rio Doce's in the joint-venture
company with Thyssen that will operate
the Brazilian plant, Companhia Siderurgica do Atlantico.
Vale will raise its stake in the operating company
to 26.8 percent from 10 percent,
an investment of euro965 million.
The step "reinforces the value of our investment
and strengthens our industrial concept," Schulz said.
ThyssenKrupp's shares closed down
about half a percent at euro22.85 ($32.59).
On the Net:
Gsm: (250) (0) 78-847-0205 (Mtn Rwanda)
Gsm: (250) (0) 75-079-9819 (Rwandatel)
Home: (250) (0) 25-510-4140
P.O. Box 3867
Kigali - RWANDA
Skype ID: kayisa66