FRANKFURT -- ThyssenKrupp (IW 1000/75) said on Friday it intends to axe "more than 2,000 jobs" out a total workforce of 27,600 at its Steel Europe division in a 500-million-euro ($671-million) cost-cutting drive.

"Overall, the workforce of Steel Europe will be cut by more than 2,000 from around 27,600 at present as part of an optimization program. A further 1,800 jobs could be cut via possible divestments," ThyssenKrupp said in a statement.

The unit's administrative headquarters in Duisburg, western Germany, would bear the brunt of the cuts, which management hoped would not entail any forced redundancies.

Pending consultations with unions and labor representatives, they would be implemented by its 2014/2015 business year, the statement said.

ThyssenKrupp, which runs its business year from October to September, said it aims to cut costs at its Steel Europe division by around 500 million euros ($670 million).

"This is a first step in improving the position of our European steel business in a difficult competitive environment," the statement said.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2013