Wires

UPDATE 3-Pressure mounts on Thyssenkrupp CEO after fourth profit warning

Christoph Steitz and Tom Käckenhoff

* Weak car market, iron ore prices hit results

* Now expects adjusted EBIT of 800 mln euros in 2018/19

* Group examines external interest in elevator unit (Recasts, adds details on turnaround plan, fresh quote)

FRANKFURT/DUESSELDORF, Germany, Aug 8 (Reuters) - Germany's Thyssenkrupp on Thursday issued its fourth profit warning under current boss Guido Kerkhoff, who faces mounting pressure to turn around the stricken conglomerate.

To win back investor confidence, Kerkhoff is considering a sale of Thyssenkrupp's prized elevator division alongside plans to list it, putting three struggling business units under review and planning to fix a sprawling corporate structure.

The news helped prompt a 2.7% rise in the company's shares, which are hovering at 16-year lows.

"One thing will stop, which is that businesses without a clear perspective are burning cash on a permanent basis, destroying value that other business areas have generated," Kerkhoff told journalists.

Thyssenkrupp - whose operations run the gamut from building submarines and elevators to steel and car parts - said adjusted earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) are now expected to decline to about 800 million euros ($897 million) this year.

That is down from a previous forecast for 1.1-1.2 billion euros, the group said, citing weakness at two of its core markets: automotive and steel.

The warning is another blow to confidence in Kerkhoff, whose credibility has been hurt by a botched attempt to merge the company's steel business with Tata Steel's European unit and a failed plan to spin off its capital goods unit.

Kerkhoff became CEO last year to fill a leadership vacuum triggered by the resignation of both the group's chairman and CEO, both defenders of Thyssenkrupp's sprawling conglomerate structure that has long been criticized by investors.

BIDS FOR ELEVATORS

Thyssenkrupp's Elevator Technology unit is by far its most profitable operation and valued at up to 14 billion euros ($15.7 billion) - more than twice Thyssenkrupp's current market valuation.

Kerkhoff - who has so far only disclosed plans for an IPO of the unit - acknowledged the company had received expressions of interest that would be assessed. He declined to say whether Thyssenkrupp would sell a majority stake in the division.

Sources have told Reuters that private equity firms KKR , Advent, and CVC as well as Finnish elevator group Kone have contacted Thyssenkrupp to discuss interest in its elevator unit.

"The obviously great interest of competitors and financial investors shows us how attractive the elevator business is," Kerkhoff said.

He said he was also looking at expressions of interest in the group's other business divisions - which include units like steel and shipbuilding - all of which are lagging behind peers.

Thyssenkrupp is also putting three other units - its springs and stabilizers, system engineering and heavy plate divisions - under review. They accounted for 4% of group sales but a quarter of negative cash flow in the current business year.

Analysts applauded the latest plans.

"Thyssenkrupp's new strategy is the first that could tackle its structural deficits," Rochus Brauneiser, head of steel at Kepler Cheuvreux Equity Research, said.

"The best move would be to sell a large chunk of the elevator business to pay down debt and fully externalize pensions." ($1 = 0.8923 euros) (Editing by Michelle Martin and Deepa Babington)