Siemens is among the world's largest industrial companies, with operations spanning almost every sort of high-tech electrical engineering endeavour from traffic light systems to nuclear generators, and from medical imaging to motors. Currently, energy generation (including renewable energy) and energy management systems account for over 40% of revenues; healthcare technology ("Siemens Healthineers") for another 16%. Siemens' main rival across several market segments is US giant GE. Like GE, though, the energy business has been struggling with poor performance in recent years. In 2019, Siemens announced plans to spin off Siemens Power & Gas to shareholders by late 2020. That will be the latest of several such reshuffles in the group's portfolio over the past two decades. The most significant development was the complete dismantling of what was once its biggest division: mobile telecoms. Badly dented by the post-2000 downturn, the handset business was sold in 2005 to Taiwanese manufacturer BenQ (and later closed); networks infrastructure was merged into what was originally a joint venture with Nokia, now wholly owned by the Finnish company. Siemens also sold its lighting division Osram, its stake in European computer manufacturing to partner Fujitsu, and its 50% stake in long-established household appliances joint venture BSH to partner Robert Bosch. In 2018, the group issued an IPO of a minority stake in the Siemens Healthineers division. It has also more than a year attempting to demerge its railway infrastructure division into French rival Alstom in return for a 50% share of that combined entity. That deal faced consistent opposition from EU regulators, and was finally blocked in 2019 on grounds it would lead to higher prices and less choice for European passengers. The group's radical overhaul was also overshadowed between 2006 and 2008 by the emergence of two corruption scandals which claimed the jobs of several senior executives and resulted in a record fine from regulators. Joe Kaeser is now CEO. Group revenues for the year to Sep 2018 were €83.0bn. The group's heritage dates back to 1847 when engineer Werner von Siemens established a workshop in Berlin to make telegraph equipment. Over the next 30 years the company diversified into generators, electric trains and trams and telephone systems.
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Capsule checked 16th November 2018
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