Adds comments on steel joint venture, context
FRANKFURT, March 27 (Reuters) - Salzgitter SZGG.DE is not in discussions with Thyssenkrupp TKAG.DE about a steel merger, its chief executive said, responding to what sources have said are renewed efforts by the German conglomerate to sell its steel division.
Sources told Reuters last week that Thyssenkrupp had revived efforts to explore a divestment of Steel Europe, which the company has been wanting to list, merge or spin off for most of the past two decades.
"So far I have not seen any economic and industrial concept that is so convincing that I would propose it to our shareholders," Gunnar Groebler said when asked about the appeal of a tie-up of the country's top steelmakers.
"We are also not in talks with Thyssenkrupp about this," Groebler told Reuters.
The news of Thyssenkrupp's plans have also put a question mark over HKM, the steel joint venture between Thyssenkrupp (50%), Salzgitter (30%) and France's Vallourec VLLP.PA, which wants to sell its stake.
As a result, labour unions fear that HKM could miss out in the planned transformation towards carbon free steel.
"We have always said we stand by HKM," Groebler said. "Vallourec has a different position. We are discussing what a potential future for HKM could look like."
(Reporting by Tom Kaeckenhoff and Christoph Steitz, Editing by Friederike Heine and Tomasz Janowski)
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