Austria's AMS to put Osram's Digital Systems up for sale -sources

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Austrian sensor maker AMS is putting German lighting group Osram’s Digital Systems unit up for sale as it takes full control of the company, people close to the matter said.

AMS bought Osram for 4.6 billion euros last year in its biggest ever deal, saddling itself with more than 4 billion euros ($4.85 billion) in debt, as it sought to forge a world-class photonics and sensor champion.

Osram’s shareholders in November voted in favour of a so-called domination agreement that allows AMS to fully control the company and its cashflow. This will take effect in January.

AMS, which was not immediately available for comment, is now planning to divest the parts of Osram it considers non-core in order to reduce its debt.

Osram declined to comment.

AMS bought Osram mainly for its Opto Semiconductors unit and is not interested in its Digital unit and only in parts of its automotive unit.

Within Osram’s Digital unit, the Digital Systems operations supplying electronic control gear are the first to be put on the block with an auction starting in early 2021, the sources said.

The company is already working with advisors on the divestiture of this business, which has about 400 million euros ($485 million) in annual revenues, they said.

The unit will be marketed mainly to Asian competitors, one of the sources said.

AMS is expected to later put Osram’s Internet of Things for industrials clients on the block as well as other operations such as its specialty lamps for stages and studios, all part of the Digital unit.

Within its automotive lighting operations, xenon and halogen lamps are also considered non-core, the people said.

($1 = 0.8252 euros)

Reporting by Arno Schuetze; Editing by Alexander Smith