ThyssenKrupp elects new supervisory board chief | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 19.03.2013
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ThyssenKrupp elects new supervisory board chief

German engineering heavyweight ThyssenKrupp has elected a new man at the helm of its supervisory board. He will have to help bring the company back to profitability after huge net losses and alleged cartel agreements.

Industry giant ThyssenKrupp on Tuesday elected Ulrich Lehner as the new chief of its advisory board. The 66-year-old former CEO of home chemicals maker Henkel had been a member of the board since 2008 and succeeded Gerhard Cromme, who'd announced his complete withdrawal from the company.

Lehner, set to take over as of April 1, is expected to help modernize the German firm which logged net losses of 5 billion euros ($6.47 billion) last year and is about to get rid of its unprofitable steel plants in the US and Brazil.

Reuters news agency said ThyssenKrupp is sitting on a debt pile of 5.2 billion euros and is facing multi-million-euro compensation payments, for instance to German rail operator Deutsche Bahn for alleged cartel agreements.

Quest for fresh money

It was an added irritation for the firm to see its creditworthiness downgraded by ratings agencies, making loans a lot more expensive.

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Steelmaker ThyssenKrupp under fire

According to a Tuesday report in the German business daily "Handelsblatt", the company had been mulling a significant increase in capital stock by more than one billion euros.

The newspaper said issuing such an amount of new shares was bound to ruffle the feathers of the mighty Krupp Foundation, which holds a 25.3-percent stake in the company and would fear losing its blocking minority on the capital increase. ThyssenKrupp's executives have so far declined to comment on the possible move.

hg/dr (Reuters, dpa)

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