BERLIN, Feb. 1 (Xinhua) -- The planned merger between the steel branch of German industrial giant ThyssenKrupp and its Indian competitor Tata Steel is expected to be concluded this spring, Guido Kerkhoff, chief executive officer (CEO) of ThyssenKrupp announced at the company's general meeting on Friday.
Kerkhoff said that a "close cooperation" with the European Commission had been established with regards to the investigation of the merger between ThyssenKrupp and Tata Steel. The company resulting from the merger would be the second largest steel producer in Europe after ArcelorMittal.
In October, the EU side had initiated an investigation of the merger of the two steel companies, as competition could be impaired in particular regarding steel supplies to the automotive industry and metal-coated packaging steel.
On Thursday, the German newspaper Welt reported that Economic Minister Peter Altmaier was planning to provide financial governmental support for certain German companies, including ThyssenKrupp.
The aim of Altmaier's plan was to "secure or regain the economic and technological leadership of Germany and the European Union". The plan is expected to be officially announced next week.
Splitting off the steel business from ThyssenKrupp business group would make the German conglomerate "faster and more flexible" as well as "reduce the complexity" of the industrial giant, which in addition to steel is also producing technical systems such like elevators, industrial equipment, naval ships and submarines. "Separately, we are stronger," said Kerkhoff.