Siemens seeks investment from sovereign wealth funds

FRANKFURT - German conglomerate Siemens wants to attract investment from sovereign wealth funds to enlarge its long-term investor base and improve access to fast-growing markets, its chief financial officer said in comments published Thursday.

By (AFP)

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Published: Thu 28 Aug 2008, 1:53 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 12:01 PM

Siemens ‘would very much welcome an active involvement’ by funds from the Gulf, Russia and other regions, Joe Kaeser told the Financial Times in an interview.

‘We are very open to anyone who would want to join us as an investor.’

But while an investment similar to one by Mubadala, Abu Dhabi's investment vehicle, in rival General Electric (GE) would provide opportunites in fast-growing regions, a deal could be hard to sell politically.

Germany is in the midst of a stiff debate over whether to allow state-owned foreign funds to buy major stakes in prominent or strategic companies.

But Kaeser called the GE deal with Abu Dhabi, which includes the creation of an eight billion euro (11.8 billion dollar) joint venture in the Middle East, ‘a meaningful and smart move.’

He did not say which funds Siemens had talked with, but said they included ones from the Gulf and elsewhere, including Russia.

The German industrial group already cooperates with Russian steel magnate Alexey Mordashov in a joint venture to build power plant components, the Financial Times noted.

Siemens' share price has fallen by almost one third this year, and a major long-term investor would also provide protection against ‘activist investors or rivals,’ it added.

But Germany has drafted a law to protect companies from unwanted foreign investors, though it is not directed specifically against investment funds from the countries or regions in question.

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