The German steel giant ThyssenKrupp said Friday that its supervisory board had approved a plan to split the conglomerate's steel unit from October 1, the start of its 2006 fiscal year. At that time, ThyssenKrupp would have a steel unit and a stainless unit, along with its four other business divisions. The group said it made the decision because of different market conditions for stainless and other steel products and also because of the steel unit's dominant role in the conglomerate's balance sheets. When ThyssenKrupp reported third-quarter earnings earlier Friday, its steel unit posted a pre-tax profit of 401 million euros ($497 million) on sales of 3.7 billion. This equalled 75.8 percent of the conglomerate's total operating profit and 32.8 percent of its total revenue respectively. The stainless-steel business segment posted a third quarter operating profit of 75 million euros on sales of 1.6 billion. ThyssenKrupp's supervisory board also voted to extend chief executive Ekkehard Schulz's contract through January 2009. It was previously scheduled to expire in January 2007.