FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Thyssenkrupp will carefully evaluate any potential pension deal by Tata Steel before advancing with a hoped-for merger of both groups' European steel businesses, the German company's finance chief said on Thursday.
"If you read that Tata has a deal, that doesn't mean we can stand up a week later and say: Now we have a joint venture," Guido Kerkhoff told journalists after presenting third-quarter results.
"Quality comes before time."
Britain's Sky News reported on Wednesday that Tata Steel was on the brink of detaching its 15 billion-pound ($19.45 billion) British Steel pension fund from its UK operations, a precondition for any merger deal with Thyssenkrupp to happen.
($1 = 0.7714 pounds)
Reporting by Christoph Steitz and Georgina Prodhan; Editing by Maria Sheahan