(Bloomberg) -- Thyssenkrupp AG slumped after lowering its profit guidance due to legal provisions for a probe into steel-price fixing, the latest blow for new Chief Executive Officer Guido Kerkhoff as he tries to convince investors he can revive the crisis-hit company.
The company’s shares fell the most in two years in Frankfurt, after it said late Thursday that adjusted 2018 earnings before interest and taxes would be 1.6 billion euros ($1.8 billion), down from the 1.8 billion euros it guided for in August. It expects net income of 100 million euros, down from the 271 million euros in 2017.
For Thyssenkrupp, once an icon of German industrial might, the profit warning compounds a turbulent year marked by executive resignations and losses at its industrial division. In September, the company announced a plan to split itself in two after months of pressure from activist shareholders disgruntled at the firm’s earnings, complicated business structure and share price falls.
Kerkhoff, who was previously chief financial officer of Thyssenkrupp and acted as CEO since mid-July, was given a five-year contract, the company said Sunday. The latest writedowns are a continuation of the cleanup under the new CEO, and likely set the firm up for “a clean slate” in the coming financial year, Citigroup Inc. analysts said in a note.
While Kerkhoff’s decision to split the company received early plaudits from analysts and ratings agencies, the company’s stock has continued to underperform Germany’s blue-chip DAX index, as concerns about individual unit performance remain. The company’s industrial services unit issued a profit warning in June amid the delayed delivery of six submarines to Turkey and issues in building cement plant in Saudi Arabia.
Germany’s cartel office has been investigating multiple steel companies for collusion on steel prices. The office in July levied 205 million euros in fines for stainless steel price fixing on an ArcelorMittal unit, Saarstahl AG, Schmidt + Clemens GmbH + Co. KG, and Zapp Precision Metals GmbH.
“Based on the facts currently known to us, we cannot exclude substantial adverse consequences with regard to the group’s asset, financial and earnings situation,” Thyssenkrupp said in reference to the probe.
The company said other factors, including quality issues in its components business, shipping problems at its steel division and an earnings miss for its elevator technology, contributed to the profit warning.
Thyssenkrupp shares fell as much as 7.6 percent, and were down 6 percent to 17.92 euros as of 9:04 a.m. in Frankfurt.
“The current developments will not have any impact on the intended partnership with Tata Steel Europe,” Thyssenkrupp board member Donatus Kaufmann said in a letter to employees seen by Bloomberg. “Each party bears any risks from the past itself.”
Thyssenkrupp will release full earnings figures on Nov. 21.
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