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Siemens Healthineers IPO: New details from CEO, Joe Kaeser

by Thomas Dworetzky , Contributing Reporter
The IPO of Siemens Healthineers is entering its final lap, and should happen by the end of March, 2018, depending on “optimal timing,” Siemens CEO Joe Kaeser told CNBC Thursday.

"We have a fascinating health care business," Kaeser told the business network, adding, "and are going to float the business ... because we do believe this is an attractive market and we want to keep control of that business going forward."

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The IPO has been an ongoing story, highlighted by an August announcement that it would happen during 2018. Estimates for the worth of the unit would be at or about $47 billion.

The company is working now to put the final pieces of the puzzle together.

"So we are going to be done, latest, by March 2018 with our internal preparations, and then we will look into the market, what it does and what the options are, and we'll take it from there," Kaeser explained.

As part of the move toward a launch of the unit, the company also has appointed Jochen Schmitz to be the chief financial officer of the health care division.

Also part of the announcement was news that Siemens saw 4Q net profits up from a year ago. It reported revenue of 22.299 billion euros, up from 21.953 billion euros a year ago; with profits at 2.197 billion euros, over last year's 2.448 billion. Net income was 1.293 billion euros, again up from the year before of 1.176 billion euros.

Kaeser told the news agency that the quarter was “good” and that the organization had delivered on "everything we promised" for the current year.

"We have a structural challenge to overcome in the power generation business," he acknowledged, stressing that, "we are actively tackling the problem, we are going to fix it during the course of 2018."

In late October, ripples of the IPO deal made news when Siemens tapped three banks to lead the organization of the effort, and sources told Reuters at the time that Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank and JP Morgan will be “global coordinator mandates.”

The future of the Healthineers has been the subject of ongoing debate by investors for some time – ever since news that the intention was to list it broke one year ago.

"Health care technology is a highly attractive business in which we want to further expand our leading position," Kaeser said in a statement at the time, adding that "with this step, we continue to implement Vision 2020 launched in May 2014."

He stressed that the public listing will give the Healthineers "even more focus and flexibility in pursuing its growth strategy."

"Health care is one of the most attractive businesses, if not the most attractive we have in the company," he explained. "We want to focus it more."

The move had really been in the works since 2014, when Siemens created the health care component as a "company within the company." This gave it the ability to be agile enough to adjust to the the massive transformations sweeping the health care market.

"The public listing is now the next step in further strengthening Siemens Healthineers in Siemens for the future," he stated, stressing that the move came during a period when the Healthineers already held "a leading position" and the company had boosted its market share.

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