Siemens to spin-off its healthcare business
November 16, 2016
Germany’s Siemens plans a public listing of its US$15 billion healthcare business, which it recently re-branded as Siemens Healthineers. The news lifted the company’s shares to a 16-year high.
Healthcare is the most profitable business of the multinational corporation, which produces everything from trains to turbines, but it will need large investments in coming years as the industry shifts from the simple selling of equipment to managing healthcare more broadly.
The move, which follows a carve-out of the business from the rest of the group, takes Siemens in a different direction from global rivals General Electric and Philips, who are focusing more on healthcare as they shed financial services and lighting respectively.
Siemens has in the past years quit the semiconductor, lighting, automotive and communications businesses, among others, seeking to minimize the discount to its valuation that comes from being a conglomerate, and to focus on its core strengths of factory automation and energy technology.
That leaves it mainly supplying big-ticket industrial goods, a market vulnerable to political uncertainty that discourages manufacturers from making investments.
Siemens said it expected a modest rise of 1-2 percent in sales in its current fiscal year to the end of September, and for orders to outpace revenues, provided that the market for high-margin, short-cycle businesses – such as Siemens’ highly profitable factory-automation software – stabilizes.
“Our forecast doesn’t leave much room for error,” Siemens CEO Joe Kaeser told a news conference at the company’s Munich headquarters.
Kaeser said, however, that the shock victory of Donald Trump in the U.S. presidential election could have a silver lining for Siemens, given Trump’s campaign promises to rebuild infrastructure. Siemens makes $22 billion or a quarter of its revenue in the United States.
“Give him a chance, let’s see what we can do together and take the positive out of it,” Kaeser told Bloomberg TV.