Germany's embattled Thyssenkrupp plans to split company in two

Frankfurt am Main (Germany) (AFP) –


The board of German industrial conglomerate Thyssenkrupp hopes to split the historic group into two listed companies, executives said Thursday, sending its shares soaring.

"The executive board will suggest to the supervisory board on Sunday... splitting the group into two significantly more focused and effective firms," they said in a statement.

"The industrial goods and the raw materials businesses will each become independent, listed companies," they added.

Shareholders in the present Thyssenkrupp would receive new shares in both Thyssenkrupp Materials -- with 90,000 employees and annual revenues around 16 billion euros ($18.7 billion) -- and Thyssenkrupp Industrials, with 40,000 workers and 18 billion in revenue.

Shares in the group surged 11.9 percent on the news to trade at 22.46 euros at 4:45 pm in Frankfurt (1445 GMT), topping the DAX index of blue-chip German shares which was up 0.5 percent.

But before the plan can go ahead both the supervisory board and a general shareholders' meeting must give the green light, with directors expecting to move "in 12 to 18 months".

Thyssenkrupp, which can trace its roots back 207 years, has been in turmoil ever since Heinrich Hiesinger quit as CEO in July, shortly after completing a landmark deal merging Thyssenkrupp's steel activities with India's Tata.

Supervisory board chief Ulrich Lehner followed him out the door soon after, warning of "many" job losses if activist investors pushing for an aggressive restructuring of the sprawling group got their way.

Shareholders have demanded splitting up the massive conglomerate, whose businesses range from building elevators, submarines and car parts to steelmaking.

Last month, the Essen-based group reported a net loss of 131 million euros ($153 million) in the third quarter of financial year and lowered its full-year forecast.