ThyssenKrupp seeks buyers for railway and construction units

ThyssenKrupp yesterday said that it will sell its railway and construction units, as it views that the businesses have limited growth prospects within the group.

The Essen-based company said that management of its material services division informed the group's supervisory board of its decision to initiate a sale process for GfT Gleistechnik and GfT Bautechnik, its railway and construction businesses.

Both units have combined sales of around €400 million ($523 million) and around 800 employees.

"In view of limited growth prospects on the German market and increased cost pressure, the materials services division believes the two activities will have better development opportunities outside the ThyssenKrupp Group," the company said in a statement.

With an integrated range of machinery, plant and equipment and customer-focused services GfT Bautechnik specialises in civil engineering.

Its capabilities includes pile installation, structural analysis, pile driving, anchoring plans, providing spare parts, and is a full-range supplier for marine and special civil engineering projects.

GfT Gleistechnik is an end-to-end supplier of track and track equipment such as rails, ties, turnouts and fasteners, new and refurbished rolling stock, wagon equipment and a full spectrum of services.

Last July, the German Federal Cartel Office slapped a €103 million fine on GfT Gleistechnik for being part of a cartel in supplying steel to German national rail operator Deutsche Bahn.

While part of the probe is complete, investigations are still ongoing related to two other products and ThyssenKrupp,  Germany's biggest steelmaker, has made a provision of €30 million for this and is also facing is facing potential claims for damages from its clients.

ThyssenKrupp, whose business stretches from submarines to lifts, had announced in May 2011 an extensive reorganisation that includes the sale or spinoff of certain assets in order to cut debt and focus on engineering.

It has since sold its Inoxum stainless steel division to Finland's Outokumpu Oyj for$3.55 billion, its Tailored Blanks car parts unit to China's Wuhan Iron and Steel (Wisco) for an undisclosed sum and  its US iron foundry Waupaca, as well as its Xervon Industry Services unit, Automotive Systems in Brazil, and its entire civil shipbuilding activities.

It is currently in talks to sell its steel Americas business (CSA) to Brazilian steelmaker Cia Siderúrgica Nacional (CSN).