FRANKFURT -- ThyssenKrupp AG said on Thursday its core steel unit would invest more than 692 million euros ($794 million) over the next few years, mostly in property, plant and equipment.
ThyssenKrupp Steel, the world's leading producer of stainless steel, said in a statement the 2003 investment round had been approved by its supervisory board and would be financed from its operating cash flow.
"The remaining free cash flow will be used to pay a dividend to ThyssenKrupp AG and to reduce debt," said Ulrich Middelmann, chief executive of ThyssenKrupp Steel.
Parent group ThyssenKrupp AG is under pressure from credit rating agencies and investors to cut debt and make more money, and has pledged to accelerate a program of selling off weaker units while buying potential growth businesses.
It has so far been tight-lipped about which assets are earmarked for disposal, but the group is expected to expand its steel, auto parts and elevators businesses.
The steel unit is aiming to double its pre-tax profit to around 800 million euros in its 2003-04 business year, after helping the group as a whole more than double profits in the three months to March 31 as steel demand picked up.
ThyssenKrupp Steel said the biggest investment would be at its tinplate manufacturing business, which supplies the beverage and food industries.