Siemens posts its largest US profit so far

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Siemens posts its largest US profit so far

Siemens' US unit posted its largest profit so far in the group's 2002 financial year, making a net profit of €823m (£524m) for the year ending 30 September, compared with a net loss of €603m for 2001.

"Although this isn't the first time our US unit has posted a profit, it has grown significantly since the early 1980s and in its present structure has not produced earnings of this magnitude," Siemens spokesman Peter Gottal said.

Siemens attributed the improvement to a combination of lower goodwill charges and strong earnings from the group's power generation and medical equipment units, despite lower sales in the US, Siemens' largest market, which fell 4% to €20.3bn in the last financial year.

For the entire group worldwide, Siemens posted a net profit of €2.6bn on sales of €84bn.

Siemens chief executive officer Heinrich von Pierer reiterated his downbeat forecast of last month, saying he expects sales and orders to fall in 2003 because of the weak economy.

At the end of September, Siemens had 426,000 employees, down 58,000 from a year ago. The spin-off of chipmaker Infineon Technologies accounted for 24,000 fewer people on the Siemens payroll.

Von Pierer declined to comment on speculation that Siemens is considering swapping its mobile phone business with Motorola in exchange for the US company's wireless infrastructure business.

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