* IT, engineering, software, construction sectors to benefit
* Winners include: PSI, Centrotec, Siemens, ABB
* Grid investments of 42.5 billion euros needed by 2030
By Christoph Steitz and Vera Eckert
BERLIN, Jan 23 Germany's impending energy shift
has set a host of companies, from conglomerates to niche
specialists, jostling for position to capitalise on the
country's most ambitious infrastructure project in recent
"This is the most exciting time in Germany's energy sector
since the end of the 1960s, when we saw the last wave of big
grid investments," says PSI AG Chief Executive Harald
Through its software, PSI helps to control and optimise
power generation and transmission, a service in high demand
given Germany's need for smart power grids able to manage the
inflow of conventional energy and renewable power.
It is one of many companies at this year's Handelsblatt
energy conference that are banking on Germany's landmark
decision to pull out of nuclear power, a move triggered by the
Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan nearly two years ago.
Germany estimates that up to 550 billion euros ($731
billion) - more than a fifth of its 2011 GDP - will be needed to
upgrade its energy system and ensure that the country's power
will be 80 percent green by 2050.
The project's complexity offers a rich hunting ground for
large conglomerates as well as myriad little-known specialist
companies active in construction, engineering, software and
"The energy shift can certainly help some companies increase
their profits," said Bjoern Glueck, fund manager at German asset
management firm Lupus Alpha.
PSI, which employs about 1,600 and targets about 180 million
euros in revenues for 2012, is among the best-placed. That has
not gone unnoticed by larger companies in the energy sector,
including Germany's No.2 utility RWE, which holds a
near-18 percent stake in the company.
Energy agency Dena suggested that up to 42.5 billion euros
of investment is required up to 2030 in distribution
infrastructure and equipment such as cables and converters to
ensure the success of Germany's switch from nuclear to
CABLES AND PYLONS
This will also offer opportunities to lesser-known companies
such as Italian cable maker Prysmian and Japan's NGK
Insulators, a maker of ceramic insulators for
high-voltage pylons, said Nektarios Kessidis, fund manager at
Deutsche Bank's asset management arm DWS.
Investors are already jumping on the bandwagon.
Shares in Prysmian, which makes cables that help to connect
offshore wind parks with the mainland, have soared nearly 60
percent since the beginning of 2012.
Kessidis added that companies such as Germany's Siemens
and Swiss peer ABB are also involved in
expanding power grids and offer indirect exposure to Germany's
energy shift because of their extensive activities in other
Analysts and fund managers also point to the area of energy
efficiency as one of the main beneficiaries of Germany's energy
The government expects that nearly 90 percent of the
country's residential areas need to be made more
energy-efficient by 2050, requiring investment of 300 billion
euros for private households alone.
Centrotec Sustainable, a supplier of energy-saving
technology, is well-placed to benefit from this trend, Lupus
Alpha's Glueck said.
The company says it is particularly buoyant about decade-old
heating technology that needs to be replaced with more
energy-efficient products such as condensing boilers.
Then there's the energy-focused refurbishment of buildings,
an area that secured or created 382,000 jobs in 2011 and in
which Hochtief, Germany's biggest builder, is active.
Additional areas expected to grow include green power
storage and the management of large volumes of renewable energy,
said Stefan Grasmann, head of the energy business at software
and consulting company Zuehlke Engineering.
PSI's Schrimpf, meanwhile, is already thinking outside the
box, expecting his company's software to be an export success
story once the German market has been satisfied.
"The big fluctuations in power grids will increase the
interest in our software from countries bordering Germany,
including the Benelux countries, Denmark and eastern Europe," he
($1 = 0.7526 euros)
(Additional reporting by Daniela Pegna in Frankfurt; Editing by