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Siemens seeks faster growth in smart buildings

Zug, Switzerland

SIEMENS wants to grow its building technologies business faster than the overall construction market next year, possibly with help from acquisitions, the business' chief executive Matthias Rebellius said on Tuesday.

The business, which has its head office in Zug, Switzerland, makes devices and software to control the heating, lighting, energy use and security in so-called smart buildings.

Mr Rebellius said he expected the overall construction market to grow by around 3 per cent next year, with Siemens taking market share from rivals that include Johnson Controls and Honeywell. "We want to grow 1 percentage point above the market," he told journalists at an event in Zug, where the business is due to open an office building and production site on Wednesday after investing 250 million Swiss francs (S$343 million).

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The division is targeting faster growth in Asia, where it currently gets around 10 per cent of its sales, as well as focusing on digital buildings - which sense, collect and analyse data to improve their energy use, for example.

During Siemens' 2018 financial year, the building technology business's profit slipped to 755 million euros from 784 million a year earlier, while its sales rose 6 per cent to 6.6 billion euros. It achieved a profit margin of 11.4 per cent, above its target range of 8 to 11 per cent.

Next year, it will be folded into a new division called Smart Infrastructure, taking in parts of Siemens' energy management and digital factories businesses, with a higher profit goal.

He said the company would consider acquisitions. During 2018 it bought three companies to boost its expertise in smart buildings.

Siemens would not rule out larger deals, Mr Rebellius said, although acquisitions were not needed to meet the company's goals. He declined to identify potential targets. REUTERS