UPDATE 1-FLSmidth in talks to buy Thyssenkrupp’s mining unit

(Adds context on Thyssenkrupp, FLSmidth)

GDANSK/FRANKFURT/COPENHAGEN, Jan 15 (Reuters) – FLSmidth is in negotiations with German engineering group Thyssenkrupp to acquire its mining business, the Danish mining equipment maker said on Friday.

The negotiations are at a non-binding stage, FLSmidth said, and there can be no assurance as to their result.

“Any transaction, if entered into, would be subject to, amongst other, statutory clearances from authorities, including approvals from merger control authorities,” the company said.

Sources told Reuters in November that FLSmidth was expected to show interest in parts of Thyssenkrupp’s Plant Technology division, which has been put up for sale in a process run by Citi.

Sales of Plant Technology, of which mining is a part, fell 2% to 2.9 billion euros ($3.5 billion) in Thyssenkrupp’s last fiscal year, ended in September, while its operating loss widened to 265 million euros.

Sales at mining reached a high triple digit million euro sum, a person familiar with the matter said.

A spokeswoman for Thyssenkrupp confirmed that negotiations with FLSmidth were ongoing, declining to comment further.

FLSmidth, part of a Nordic cluster of mining gear makers including Sweden’s Sandvik and Atlas Copco as well as Finland’s Metso, has two major divisions, mining and cement.

Mining, making up two-thirds of revenue, has suffered less during the pandemic than cement, which has been hit by lockdowns and reduced economic activity, disrupting construction projects across the world.

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But its mining business has also been hit by lower demand for steel and copper during the pandemic, especially in China. ($1 = 0.8252 euros) (Reporting by Boleslaw Lasocki in Gdansk, Christoph Steitz in Frankfurt and Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen in Copenhagen; Editing by Jan Harvey and Steve Orlofsky)

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