World newswires

Siemens shifts away from coal as it wins spin-off backing

German industrial giant Siemens on Thursday unveiled plans to set its energy subsidiary on the road towards a coal-power-free future, as it won backing from shareholders to spin off the unit.

Days after Germany agreed to end use of coal-fired power generation by 2038, the conglomerate's chief executive Joe Kaeser underlined plans to shift its division Siemens Energy towards a greener model.

"I've requested that the Executive Board of Siemens Energy AG rapidly submit a plan for exiting coal-fired power generation in a way that meets the needs of our stakeholders," Kaeser told shareholders gathering to vote on plans to float the unit on the stock market.

"This plan will be more responsible than the demands being raised unilaterally by some activists, but it will certainly be more rigorous than laggards consider necessary," he added, without giving a timeline for the exit.

Meanwhile the plan to float Siemens Energy won overwhelming approval, with 99.36 percent votes in favour of spinning off the unit with a net book value of around 17 billion euros ($19.2 billion) as of March 31, 2020.

Like other once-sprawling German conglomerates such as Thyssenkrupp, Bayer or Continental, Siemens is slimming down via successive spinoffs and flotations of units that no longer fit into its leaders' vision.

The conventional energy division with its oil and gas, gas turbines, power transmission and related services businesses will therefore join medical devices arm Healthineers and lightbulb unit Osram on the stock market by September.

Siemens Energy will also own two thirds of wind turbine maker Gamesa.

The industrial giant had been under fire from climate protesters for providing rail signalling equipment to the planned Carmichael mine in Australia.

With protesters chanting outside a general assembly meeting in February, Kaeser had said then that his company would make one billion euros ($1.1 billion) available between now and 2025 to identify and reduce greenhouse emissions in its supply chains.

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SIEMENS

CONTINENTAL

Bayer

THYSSENKRUPP

GAMESA CORPORACION TECNOLOGICA SA

SIEMENS HEALTHINEERS

OSRAM LICHT