The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Siemens ready to exit metering unit

Calcutta, Sept. 20: Siemens Ltd, the Indian subsidiary of Siemens AG, has decided to divest its 26 per cent stake in Siemens Metering Ltd, an associate company based in Joka, for a total consideration of Rs 25 crore.

Siemens AG, which held 74 per cent stake in Siemens Metering, will also be selling its shares in the Calcutta-based company. The decision to sell off the metering unit is in line with Siemens’ global strategy of exiting certain businesses, which include metering.

World over, Siemens is selling majority control in a range of businesses to a private equity house, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Company. Post-divestment, the shares of Siemens Metering will be held by Demag Holding, an investment company based in Luxemburg.

According to the agreement reached between Siemens and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Company, the latter will hold 81 per cent in Demag Holding, and Siemens AG will hold the balance 19 per cent.

Siemens Ltd, the principal Indian arm of Siemens AG, acquired 26 per cent stake in Siemens Metering in August 2000 at a cost of Rs 22.61 crore.

The production unit at Joka existed since 1961. At the time of inception, the company was known as Universal Electrics. It was renamed Landis & Gyr in the early nineties, when it was converted into a joint venture between Birla VXL, a company promoted by S. K. Birla, and Landis & Gyr (Europe) Corporation.

It came into the Siemens fold in 1998, and in September last year, its name was changed yet again, to Siemens Metering Ltd. The company has over 900 employees, with close to 700 working at the plant.

Siemens Metering is a provider of energy metering solutions to state electricity boards and power utilities. It holds leadership position in the Indian market with sales growing at around 14 annually.

Siemens Ltd has been scaling down its operations in Calcutta. The company closed down its low voltage switchgear manufacturing facility earlier this year, after offering a voluntary retirement scheme to the employees of the unit.

The space, inclusive of the factory, is now on the block. Real estate agents have been engaged to scout for buyers. “But the price expected by Siemens for the property is way too high, and it could be difficult to find a buyer for it,” said sources in the real estate market.

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