- Net profit for the period from October to December 2019 came in at 1.09 billion euros with orders at 24.76 billion euros, down 2% from the same period in the previous year.
- The annual shareholder meeting in Munich on Wednesday faces protests over Siemens’ association with Australian coal mine operator Adani and its controversial Carmichael project.
Siemens reported a 3% fall in net profit in its fiscal first quarter, weighed down by weakness in the auto and energy sectors, as it begins a shareholder meeting blighted by protests.
Net profit for the period from October to December 2019 came in at 1.09 billion euros ($1.2 billion) with orders at 24.76 billion euros, down 2% from the same period in the previous year.
The Munich-based conglomerate confirmed its full-year outlook for “moderate growth in comparable revenue, net of currency translation and portfolio effects.” On a comparable basis excluding currency translation and portfolio effects, orders declined 4% from the previous year and revenue was down 1%, but the order backlog reached a new high of 149 million euros.
CEO Joe Kaeser said in the earnings report that the slower first fiscal quarter was expected, with energy weakness reinforcing the company’s priorities. Siemens plans to carve out its gas and power division and merge it with its 59% stake in Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy to create Siemens Energy, which will be listed on the German stock exchange in September as planned.
Siemens shares edged 0.2% lower Wednesday morning, while Siemens Gamesa climbed 2.3% and Siemens Health added 1.6%.
Testy shareholder meeting
The German multinational also had its annual shareholder meeting in Munich Wednesday, where it faced protests over Siemens’ association with Australian coal mine operator Adani and its controversial Carmichael project.
Earlier this week, 19 health groups advocating climate change action published an open letter to Siemens urging it to end its commercial relationship with Adani, after the company confirmed in January that it would go ahead with its reported $30 million contract to provide signaling technology to the coal mine’s railway.
In his address to shareholders on Wednesday, Kaeser highlighted that the company had achieved a 41% decline in CO2 emissions since fiscal 2014 and seen 637 million tons of CO2 emissions abated during customers’ fiscal 2019, claiming the company was “in the center of public debate because we accepted an order.”
“Admittedly we failed to see the overall picture involving this order correctly in time, but it is also a fact that we are complying with all legal provisions and that the Carmichael mine has in fact received all necessary permits from the Australian authorities,” he said, reiterating the claim that the “large majority” of the indigenous population in the region had approved the project.
He added that the company must better prepare itself with the ramifications of dealing with involvement “directly or indirectly” in controversial projects, and announced a 1 billion euro investment in reviewing the sustainability of all of Siemens’ supply chains.