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Thyssenkrupp board member commits to steel ahead of unit review

Thyssenkrupp's logo is seen close to the elevator test tower in Rottweil

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Thyssenkrupp <TKAG.DE> will remain committed to its Steel Europe division, which faces 2,000 layoffs, a board member said on Thursday, just weeks before the conglomerate presents a new strategy for the division.

Steel and materials trading will form the core of Thyssenkrupp after the planned full or partial sale or listing of its prized elevator unit, and divestment of the majority of its car parts, plant engineering and shipbuilding divisions.

"Together with the team at Steel Europe we will build a good future for steel," Klaus Keysberg, who is in charge of Thyssenkrupp's steel and materials trading units, said at an event in Dortmund in the Ruhr region, Germany's industrial heartland.

"The new steel strategy, which we will present soon, will also send a clear signal to this region where we are working since more than 200 years: steel stays," he said.

Struggling after four profit warnings and two botched restructuring attempts, Thyssenkrupp is under pressure to rake in cash from the sale of elevators and present a convincing equity story for the rest of the business.

"And it is true that times are rough, we readily admit it: our own performance, which is inadequate in parts, and a weakening economy in important markets contribute to it," Keysberg, who joined the board on Oct. 1, said.

He was speaking as the group laid the foundation stone for a hot-dip coating facility, primarily aimed at the car industry, which will require total investment of about 250 million euros (£216 million).

Production at the site, which will create 100 new jobs and have a capacity of 500,000 tonnes per year, is planned to start in mid-2021.


(Reporting by Christoph Steitz; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)