* New announcement follows previous cuts worth 600 mln euros
* Company plans partial closures in heavy plate business
* More than 8 bln euros investment at Steel Europe planned
* Works council sees immediate closures cutting 350 jobs
(Adds details on cost cuts, planned investments, works council
FRANKFURT/DUESSELDORF, April 7 German industrial
group Thyssenkrupp said on Friday it planned to cut
costs by 500 million euros ($531 million) over three years at
its steel unit, which it is seeking to merge with Tata Steel's
The European unit, facing pressure from cheap imports and
industry overcapacity, has already reduced costs by more than
600 million euros in a restructuring programme that ended about
a year ago.
Regarding the latest round of cost-cutting, the group said
in a statement: "This will include improving cost efficiency in
areas such as personnel, maintenance and repair, logistics,
sales and administration."
Chief Executive Heinrich Hiesinger has said restructuring is
the only way to keep the firm competitive without consolidation
to remove excess capacity in the industry.
On Friday, Thyssenkrupp said it planned to close parts of
some production facilities at its heavy plate business unit but
said it was not yet clear how many jobs would be affected.
Guenter Back, head of the works council at Thyssenkrupp's
steel business, told Reuters the immediate closure of two
facilities in the German industrial cities of Bochum and
Duisburg would result in up to 350 job cuts.
He said management planned further cuts, for example in
logistics and among white-collar staff. "We will fight for every
job," he said.
Labour representatives said this week they would oppose
further restructuring until there was clarity over a possible
merger with Tata Steel Europe. Talks about a merger have been
going on since July.
Hiesinger has repeatedly said it remains unclear whether,
when or with whom a consolidation may take place.
Thyssenkrupp said on Friday its European steel business had
earmarked more than 8 billion euros for facility upgrades and
research and development over five years. It said the group
would discuss measures in detail with employee representatives.
Thyssenkrupp Steel Europe accounts for about a fifth of
group sales, and had an operating profit margin of 4.1 percent
last fiscal year.
The group agreed to sell its remaining American steel
business, a loss-making steel mill in Brazil, in February.
($1 = 0.9422 euros)
(Reporting by Georgina Prodhan and Tom Kaeckenhoff; Writing by
Georgina Prodhan and Maria Sheahan; Editing by Edmund Blair)