UPDATE 1-Thyssenkrupp launches programme to improve steel business

viernes 4 de diciembre de 2015 07:09 GYT

* New programme follows cost-cutting focus of recent years

* Steel Europe more than doubled operating profit in 2014/15

* Situation on steel markets has not stabilised as hoped (Adds details on steel unit performance, market outlook)

VIENNA, Dec 4 (Reuters) - German industrial group Thyssenkrupp launched a five-year programme on Friday to improve the performance of its steel business amid worsening markets.

It said the so-called "one steel" programme aimed to focus the business more sharply on customers, raise production efficiency, innovate faster and improve the supply chain.

"Following a strong focus on cost reduction measures in recent years and successful financial stabilization, the steel business now aims to maintain and continuously improve its performance," Thyssenkrupp said in a statement.

Thyssenkrupp more than doubled operating profit at its European steel business in the year ended September thanks to deep cost cuts, but cheap steel imports from China - where the market is oversupplied - continue to depress prices.

"The situation on the steel markets has not stabilised as hoped but has worsened considerably in recent months," it said.

Thyssenkrupp said the programme would start at Steel Europe and may eventually be extended to its loss-making Brazilian steel operations. (Reporting by Georgina Prodhan; Editing by Harro ten Wolde and Mark Potter)