Siemens Energy listing sparks criticism of fossil fuel operations
taz / ARD
Industrial giant Siemens has listed its power plant division on the stock exchange, leading to scrutiny and criticism of its activities in the fossil fuel sector, writes Kai Schöneberg in Die Tageszeitung (taz). The company, known as Siemens Energy, was listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, with 55 percent of its shares going to existing Siemens shareholders, another 9.9 percent to the pension fund, and the parent company Siemens holding onto the remaining 35.1 percent, taz writes. The spin-off company has annual revenues of 29 billion euros and 91,000 employees across the world. Prices settled a little over 21 euros per share, giving the company a valuation of around 16 billion euros, Lothar Gries writes in ARD.
Companies are sometimes spun off on the theory that splitting up constituent parts can create overall higher valuations. But Siemens may also be trying to green up its core business, the taz report notes. Siemens Energy uses conventional power plant technology such as coal, gas and oil and deploys exploration systems for the oil and gas industry – although it also holds a 67 percent stake in Spanish wind turbine manufacturer Siemens Gamesa. Climate activists have criticised the company for its stake in a gas-fired plant in Israel as well as supplying turbines for coal-fired plants in Indonesia, among other activities. In July, Siemens CEO Joe Kaeser said at an extraordinary shareholders' meeting of Siemens AG that it wanted to phase out any operations related to coal-fired power production. He asked the board to present a “stakeholder-friendly” plan for the phase-out, but didn’t give a specific timeline. The company also argues that newer plants are more climate friendly because of increased efficiency. Critics point out that such plants lock in fossil fuel production for decades.