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Higher steel price boosts Thyssenkrupp results

German heavy industry giant Thyssenkrupp has posted better-than-expected third-quarter results. The very division that's been causing the company the biggest headache of late is behind the upswing.

Thyssenkrupp on Thursday reported a decent rise in third-quarter orders and profits. The uptick was helped by a recovery in steel prices that boosted the company's Steel Europe unit.

"We're pleased by the recovery in earnings at the materials businesses," Chief Executive Heinrich Hiesinger said in a statement.

"We have achieved the minimum level necessary to cover the cost of capital," he added.

Thyssenkrupp posted a 14-percent rise in quarterly order intake to 10.7 billion euros ($12.6 billion). Adjusted earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) came in at 620 million euros.

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Strategic reorientation

Third-quarter operating profit at Steel Europe more than doubled to 232 million euros, well above analysts' expectations.

Despite the temporary recovery, Hiesinger said large swings in steel and raw material prices remained a key argument in favor of the group's continued focus on more stable and better-performing business lines, most notably its elevator unit.

There have been numerous media reports indicating that Thyssenkrupp is hoping to merge its Steel Europe unit with India's Tata Steel Europe before the end of next month.

Some 27,000 employees, 20,000 of them in the western German state of Northrhine Westphalia, would be affected by such a merger. Trade union activists are opposing the tie-up, fearing the closure of facilities and massive layoffs.

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hg/jd (Reuters, dpa)

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