Siemens announces nuclear pullout

GERMANY: Siemens has announced it will cease to design and manufacture components for the nuclear-energy sector.

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Siemens chief executive Peter Loescher said events at the Fukushima reactor in Japan and the opinion in its German home market were behind the decision.

The decision comes as Siemens focuses €150 million of its resources on the expansion of its wind-power business.

Speaking about the nuclear decision, Loescher spoke to Der Spiegel. "The clear positioning of German society and politics is for a pullout from nuclear energy," he said. "The chapter for us is closed."

In terms of wind energy, the company is planning to open two research and development centres, and an offshore "centre of excellence" in Denmark. The company, whose 3.6MW turbine is the most popular in the offshore sector, is currently developing a 6MW offshore turbine.

As a mark of its ambition, Siemens has said this month it is prepared to accept a near-halving in the firm's wind profits to remain competitive in the sector and develop new technologies.

Despite reasonably stable revenues, Siemens' renewables pre-tax profits in the third quarter of 2011 were almost half the €122 million for the same period last year, down to €68 million.

This drop means Siemens' renewables profit margin for the three months to June was 6.97%, down from 12.8% in Q3 2010, based on revenues of €975 million and €953 million respectively.

Siemens Renewable Energy chief executive Rene Umlauft recently left the company to become chief executive of MAN Diesel and Turbo.

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