Siemens investors push for simpler group structure to unlock value

FILE PHOTO: The logo of German industrial group Siemens is seen in Zurich, Switzerland

ZURICH (Reuters) - Siemens shareholders have called on the engineering company to simplify its structure by selling its stake in Siemens Energy and clarifying its position on Siemens Healthineers.

The trains-to-industrial-software group holds 35% of Siemens Energy and 75% of Siemens Healthineers, which manufacturers medical equipment, causing Siemens AG to be valued less highly than if it was completely separate, the investors told Siemens' AGM on Thursday.

Siemens stock should outperform the MSCI World Industrials index over the long term, said Vera Diehl, portfolio manager at Union Investment, which holds a 1.6% stake in Siemens.

"In the medium term, this will require a sale of the stake in Siemens Energy and a separation from Siemens Healthineers to create a focused technology group without a conglomerate discount," Diehl said in comments prepared for the AGM.

"Portfolio managers already buy Healthineers themselves when they need it. We demand full concentration on the story as a focused technology group,"

The markets does not see Siemens as positively as it should given its strong performance, said Ingo Speich, head of Sustainability and Corporate Governance at Deka Group, a fund manager owned by Germany's unlisted savings banks.

"The conglomerate structure must be reduced and the Group streamlined," said Speich whose fund holds a 0.9% stake.

Although it was clear Siemens want to sell its Siemens Energy investment, it should hang on to the stake for the time being to help the affiliate carry out a planned capital increase "without pressure".

"But don't miss the right time to exit again afterwards," Speich added.

Siemens CFO Ralf Thomas said on Thursday that Siemens remained committed to reducing its stake in Siemens Energy, but wanted to do so in a measured way.

"We don't want in any way to contribute to any additional market turbulence," he told reporters.

(Reporting by John Revill; editing by John Stonestreet)