* CEO says eyeing potential targets in United States, Asia
* Is interested in boosting industrial, power businesses
(Adds quotes, details)
By Marilyn Gerlach and Ilona Wissenbach
MANNHEIM, Germany, March 20 German engineering
and services group Bilfinger SE is eyeing potential
targets in the United States and Asia as it pursues its ambition
to grow further via acquisitions.
Bilfinger has intensified merger and acquisition activity as
it aims to wean itself off a dependence on construction, and has
shifted its focus toward more services-oriented businesses, as
well as designing and engineering plants and buildings.
Chief Executive Roland Koch, who was once premier of the
federal state of Hesse, told reporters on Thursday that
Bilfinger still has the capability to fund several smaller
acquisitions totalling up to 800 million euros ($1.1 billion) in
the next two years, but ruled out mega-deals.
"There won't be any big bang (acquisition)," Koch said at
the company's annual results conference. It had already released
its main figures on Feb. 11.
Since 2011, when Koch took over as chief executive,
Bilfinger has spent about 800 million euros - on an enterprise
value basis including debt and equity - acquiring about two
dozen companies, including UK facility services company Europa,
automation technology specialist GreyLogix and power plant
control systems specialist Helmut Mauell.
Koch said potential targets were in the industrial services
sector, such as automation and measurement technology companies
in the United States, Europe and Asia.
Bilfinger is also seeking to beef up its position in the
United States, Middle East and Asia in the fields of power plant
technology and renewable energy.
Koch said Europe would not be a main focus of acquisitions,
since 80 percent of sales already come from the region, which
has suffered from economic weakness leading to delays in
contract awards early last year, including for bigger and
Bilfinger also on Thursday said it was keeping its
medium-term targets, including to boost output volume, or the
value of work completed, to between 11 billion euros and 12
billion by 2016.
It also aims for a profit margin of around 6 percent, based
on earnings before interest, tax and amortization (EBITA),
helped by cost cuts and an improving European economic recovery.
Output volume last year was down 1 percent at 8.51 billion
euros as governments tightened budgets, dampening demand for
infrastructure projects, while companies were reluctant to make
Bilfinger in 2013 launched an efficiency programme including
plans to cut about 1,250 administrative jobs over the next two
Shares in Bilfinger have risen 11 percent so far this year
compared with a 5.7 percent advance in German construction rival
Hochtief and a 6.9 percent gain on the STOXX Europe
600 Construction and Materials Index.
($1 = 0.7189 Euros)
(Reporting by Marilyn Gerlach and Ilona Wissenbach; Editing by