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ThyssenKrupp loss balloons on Steel Americas writedown

A worker controls a tapping of a blast furnace at Europe’s largest steel factory, belonging to German industrial conglomerate ThyssenKrupp AG, in Duisburg Dec. 6, 2012.

Ina Fassbender/Reuters

Germany's ThyssenKrupp AG posted a bigger than expected annual loss as it took a painful writedown on its steel mills in the United States and Brazil, which are up for sale.

The net loss for the 12 months through September jumped to €4.7-billion ($6.1-billion) from 1.3 billion a year earlier as it wrote down the value of the Steel Americas mills by €3.6-billion, Germany's top steelmaker said late on Monday.

The loss was almost five times as big as an average poll estimate of a €985-million.

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Thyssen said it would pay no dividend for the 2011/12 fiscal year and announced plans to further cut costs to boost operating profit by €2-billion in the next three years.

The losses at Steel Americas as well as corruption allegations and cartel probes prompted chief executive Heinrich Hiesinger to axe half his management board last week and call for a change in the "leadership system and leadership culture."

"The Steel Americas project and the various compliance violations have not just caused immense financial damage. We have thereby also lost trust and credibility," he said in a statement.

"With the changes on the executive board, the supervisory board has sent out a clear signal for a fresh start."

Thyssen said the sale of Steel Americas, which posted a full-year adjusted operating loss of about €1-billion, as expected, was on track and should be completed in its current financial year.

Thyssen also said it expected its group revenues – excluding Steel Americas and the recently sold stainless steel business Inoxum – to remain flat this fiscal year at about €40-billion. Adjusted earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) should slide to about €1-billion from €1.4-billion.

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