Siemens, the region’s biggest engineering conglomerate, has revealed an unexpectedly sharp fall in quarterly operating profits – down 23 percent to 1.6 billion euros in its main businesses — industry, energy, healthcare and infrastructure.
It is another sign that Europe’s debt crisis is beginning to hit corporate spending and investment.
The maker of everything from trains to turbines, hearing aids to lightbulbs, also said the number of new orders it received fell for the first time since early 2010. They shrank five percent.
Chief Executive Peter Loescher warned that 2012 would be a difficult year for Germany’s largest company in terms of market capitalisation, but stuck with a forecast for flat net income from continuing operations.
“For us 2012 will not be easy,” he said. “The golden days are gone.”
Siemens is seen as a bellwether not only for the eurozone’s biggest economy but also for the region.