DUESSELDORF, Germany (Reuters) - Tata Steel still has work to do before it can make progress on European steel merger talks with Thyssenkrupp, its Europe chief said on Thursday.
"I can't say how far the talks with Thyssen have got," Hans Fischer told a Handelsblatt steel conference in Duesseldorf. "When the pensions issue in Britain is resolved, we will take further steps."
Tata Steel and Thyssenkrupp want to merge their UK, Dutch and German steel businesses but separating Tata's huge UK pension deficit from the operating business is a precondition for Thyssenkrupp.
The two steelmakers argue that a merger would allow them to take excess capacity out of the market, supporting prices.
(Reporting by Matthias Inverardi; Writing by Georgina Prodhan; Editing by Christoph Steitz)