Demand for next-generation lifts and car components enabled Thyssenkrupp to report its highest annual order intake in five years as the German firm slowly exits steelmaking. But as David Pollard reports, the numbers were released amid fierce protest at the restructuring.
Steel is the future, the hi-vis vest says. But increasingly ThyssenKrupp fears it might not be. These protesters demanding job protection in the face of the German giant's restructuring plans. Two thousand jobs are to go. And others could face relocation to the Netherlands ... As part of Thyssen's deal with India's Tata Steel to merge their European operations ... Agreed in September. SOUNDBITE) (German) FORMER GERMAN MINISTER OF LABOUR AND SOCIAL AFFAIRS, ANDREA NAHLES, SAYING: "There hasn't been any news for over two months now. There are no transparent concepts on the table. We have no guarantees that facilities will be kept in Germany, we have no guarantees that workers' rights will be protected, we have no guarantees of future investments." For the company itself, to restructure is to survive, it says. (SOUNDBITE) (German) THYSSENKRUPP CEO, HEINRICH HIESINGER, SAYING: "The reality is that the basic problem of overproduction in Europe hasn't been solved. We still have around 20 million tons of overcapacity in flat steel. That's why we're convinced that consolidation is necessary." Along with the Tata deal, Thyssen has already sold a losing Brazilian steel mill. And on Thursday confirmed that an Italian stainless plant is for sale. The future, it claims, in higher-tech output. Car components for nine out of 10 premium cars, including all Teslas. And next-generation elevators ... Both units are giving its latest full-year numbers a big lift .... Earnings are up 30 per cent to nearly 2 billion euros. Order intake is - at 44 billion euros - at its highest in five years.