UPDATE 1-Salzgitter to cut more than 1,500 jobs in savings drive
* Says aims to improve results by more than 200 mln eur/yr
* Says environment unlikely to improve in coming months
* Q2 pretax loss 282.9 mln eur vs small yr-earlier profit (Adds company comment, Q2 pretax loss)
FRANKFURT, Aug 14 (Reuters) - German steelmaker Salzgitter said it would cut more than 1,500 jobs, or 6 percent of its workforce, as it seeks to return to profit amid stubbornly weak demand and low prices.
"The general environment in which the Salzgitter Group conducts its business is unlikely to improve in the months ahead," Salzgitter said in its quarterly financial report on Wednesday.
The $500-billion-a-year global steel industry, a gauge of economic health, has suffered from a drop in demand in Europe and worries over Chinese growth prospects.
Last week, Salzgitter slashed its outlook, saying it now expected to post a 2013 pretax loss of about 400 million euros ($529 million) as demand for cars, appliances and new buildings remains weak in austerity-hit Europe.
The company aims for its restructuring programme to improve annual results by more than 200 million euros, of which more than half will come from areas such as logistics, procurement and data processing as well as the job cuts.
In the second quarter, Salzgitter posted a pretax loss of 282.9 million euros, compared with a year-earlier profit of 1.6 million, as the price of rolled steel products fell below manufacturing costs.
Larger peer ThyssenKrupp said late on Tuesday it posted a quarterly net loss of 362 million euros, down from a year-earlier profit of 109 million.
($1 = 0.7555 euros) (Reporting by Maria Sheahan; editing by Edward Taylor and James Jukwey)
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