Siemens warns of weakening industrial demand

MUNICH Wed Jan 23, 2013 6:29am GMT

The logo of Siemens AG company is pictured atop a factory in Berlin October 9, 2012. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

The logo of Siemens AG company is pictured atop a factory in Berlin October 9, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Fabrizio Bensch

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MUNICH (Reuters) - Germany's Siemens (SIEGn.DE) warned that demand for products such as industrial automation and drive technologies was weakening as it posted a decline in new orders for its fiscal first quarter.

"For the rest of the year, we don't expect any tailwinds from the global economy to help us reach our ambitious goals," Chief Executive Peter Loescher said in a statement on Wednesday.

Siemens, an industrial bellwether that makes products ranging from fast trains and gas turbines to hearing aids, posted a 3 percent decline in new orders in the three months through December, to 19.1 billion euros (16 billion pounds).

At its Industry business, which generates about a quarter of group revenue, new orders were down 8 percent as the market environment grew more challenging.

But overall, new orders for the group were still better than the 18.9 billion euros expected by analysts, according to a Reuters poll, and Siemens confirmed its full-year outlook.

Its net profit from continuing operations eased by 1 percent to about 1.3 billion euros, beating a consensus of 1.1 billion.

For the full year through September, it sees profit declining to between 4.5 billion euros and 5.0 billion.

That compares with 5.18 billion last year, due to about 1 billion of costs from a 6-billion-euro savings programme announced late last year and the impact of a change in accounting standards.

Munich-based Siemens has come under pressure to cut costs and focus on its most profitable businesses to close a gap with rivals such as ABB (ABBN.VX) and General Electric (GE.N).

It is divesting its solar and water businesses and plans to spin off lighting unit Osram this year, while adding a rail business it bought from Invesnsys ISYS.L as well as industrial software companies such as Belgium's LMS International.

(Reporting by Maria Sheahan; Editing by Victoria Bryan and Jeremy Laurence)

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