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Siemens says downturn in energy markets is set to continue

Fourth quarter industrial business profit slid 10% to €2.2b, Munich-based company said

Gulf News

Munich: Siemens AG signalled a slump in demand for energy-generating equipment is set to continue in the coming fiscal year after weaker orders led to a sharp drop in fourth-quarter profit at its power-and-gas division.

Industrial business profit slid 10 per cent to €2.2 billion (Dh9.4 billion, $2.6 billion), the Munich-based company said in a statement Thursday, missing an average estimate of analysts surveyed by Siemens of €2.45 billion. Profit at the power-and-gas division declined by 40 per cent while orders for new equipment dropped.

“We have to tackle structural issues in some individual businesses,” Chief Executive Officer Joe Kaeser said in the statement. “There is a lot of work ahead of us in fiscal 2018.”

As the chief executive pushes ahead with dismantling Siemens’s sprawling conglomerate structure to one resembling more of a holding company, he has faced a slump in demand for turbines used in large-scale power plants. The company is expected to announce significant job cuts at its power and gas division as soon as next week, a move that will follow an announcement Monday that the Siemens Gamesa windpower division will shed almost a quarter of its staff.

Forecast for 2018 fiscal year

Siemens said it’s expecting a “mixed picture” in the coming financial year, ranging from strong markets in the short-cycle businesses to “unfavourable dynamics” at for energy generation.

The company set the same forecasts for the 2018 fiscal year as it had for the one just ended, projecting an industrial business profit margin of 11 to 12 per cent, and basic earnings per share of 7.20 euros to 7.70 euros. The company is also expecting modest revenue growth and a book-to-bill ratio above 1.

In the fourth quarter, sales climbed 2 per cent to 22.3 billion euros. The Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy unit, which combined with a Spanish rival earlier this year, posted a quarterly loss due to inventory write downs.

Siemens said preparations for an initial public offering of its health care division, called Healthineers, are on schedule and named Jochen Schmitz as chief financial officer of the unit. The company is also planning to merge its rail business with French rival Alstom SA.