The high-tech bust has caught up with Siemens AG, as the German electronics and engineering giant posted a huge loss in its fourth fiscal quarter. The net loss of 1.1 billion euros (US$1 billion as of Sept. 30, the last day of the quarter) includes one-time charges totaling 532 million euros, as well as losses posted by Siemens' semiconductor subsidiary Infineon Technologies AG, the company said in a statement Wednesday. A year earlier, in the fourth quarter of 2000, the company reported net income of 1.14 billion euros, also including special items.
Sales for the quarter were 24.5 billion euros, up just 3 percent from the 23.7 billion euros posted in the same period last year.
For the fiscal year 2001, Siemens was in the black, but still far from its previous-year results. Net income for the year, at 2.1 billion euros, also including Infineon, was off more than 70 percent from the net income of 7.9 billion euros posted in fiscal 2000. Annual sales were up 12 percent to 87 billion euros.
Infineon, of which Siemens owns little more than half, separately reported Tuesday a fiscal-year net loss of 591 million euros, on revenue of 5.7 billion euros.
The "negative swing" in the semiconductor industry had a major impact on the parent company, said Siemens President and Chief Executive Officer Heinrich von Pierer, in remarks carried over a live Web broadcast. Operations in the IT and telecommunication arenas also took a big hit, he added.
"This industry has been undergoing fundamental structural change since the beginning of the year. This change is affecting us, just as it is affecting our competitors."
However, the roughly 60 percent of Siemens' business focused on non-IT sectors, such as power generation, medical devices, automation and drives, helps even out the impact, he said.
"Our portfolio enables us to weather crises better that companies that are focused on a single technology," he said.
Siemens' Information and Communication Networks (ICN) division was affected by the "substantial cut-backs in capital spending by telecom operators for telecommunications and networking products," the company said, posting sales of 12.9 billion euros for the full fiscal year, 14 percent higher than in fiscal 2000.
The Information and Communication Mobile (ICM) unit, however, did relatively well compared to competitors in the battered sector, posting a 27-percent growth in sales, to 11.3 billion euros for the year, Siemens said.