West Germany: Melding Steel

Bigness is no longer something for which steelmakers of the war-splintered Ruhr have to apologize. With fierce competition in the steel market, mergers to streamline production are becoming a must for survival. For a year now, 29 German steel producers have been coordinating their sales and investments through four regional cartels regarded as laboratories for eventual mergers. Last week two major steel companies, the legendary August Thyssen-Hütte and the oldest Ruhr steel producer, Hüttenwerk Oberhausen A.G. (HOAG), announced merger plans that would make them the world's fourth largest steel company, after U.S. Steel, the recently nationalized British Steel Corp....

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