This is normal behavior for the step file which is created form the sheet metal part file? I tested by publishing and saving in local but the same result.
When we do a save as for STEP file from Sheet metal part from Creo, some features are merged in Step files
There are some functions that do not merge all solid geometries.
However, exporting a hem will merge them.
If you require the gap, you must provide a gap in the hem or make it a separate part.