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Siemens CEO Kaeser Says Osram Spinoff Has Now 'Grown Up'

Jan. 19, 2017
“They had to do a lot of restructuring; we always said we would be there as a protective parent as long as they are in this re-positioning and re-calibration” phase, Kaeser said.

Siemens AG Chief Executive Officer Joe Kaeser said former lighting division Osram Licht AG (IW 1000/609) has matured after its spinoff and subsequent reorganization, although he declined to specify whether Europe’s largest engineering company plans to sell its remaining stake.

“They had to do a lot of restructuring; we always said we would be there as a protective parent as long as they are in this re-positioning and re-calibration” phase, Kaeser said in an interview with Bloomberg TV from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. “I think the child has grown up.”

Osram shares fell 1.1% to 51.65 euros as of 10:55 a.m. in Frankfurt, giving it a market capitalization of 5.4 billion euros (US$5.8 billion).

Relations between the two German companies soured last year, with Kaeser publicly questioning his Osram counterpart’s decision to invest heavily in a manufacturing facility in Malaysia. Osram’s Chief Financial Officer Ingo Bank last week poured cold water on the possibility that the German lighting company will be acquired by Chinese investors. Instead, he said a plan to sell its lower-margin Ledvance general lamps business is moving ahead.

“The Osram brand and the Osram company is well-established in the world. Customers like them,” Kaeser said in the interview. Siemens retains a stake of about 17%.

Kaeser has shed assets in order to focus Siemens on its engineering and electrification businesses. The company announced in November it would also list its health-care division, called Healthineers, as part of that strategy.

The timing of the listing will depend on “market conditions,” the CEO said. The company still needs to figure out whether to follow a model like it did with Osram, or pursue an initial public offering that could raise funds.

”We are not in a hurry,” he said. “I’m sure you’ll like the numbers you’ll see on Healthineers in the quarter we just finished.”

By Francine Lacqua and Oliver Sachgau

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