FRANKFURT (Reuters) - The owners of Nokia Siemens Networks NSN.UL are considering an eventual listing of their telecom gear venture as both look for an exit from a non-core business.
"If everything continues to develop well, an IPO of NSN is possible in the medium term," Siemens SIEGn.DE chief financial officer Joe Kaeser told journalists on Friday, adding an initial public offering (IPO) was not on the agenda in the short term.
Nokia NOK1V.HE, the world's biggest mobile phone maker, and German industrial group Siemens merged their telecom equipment businesses on a 50-50 ownership basis in 2007 in a six-year deal, hoping to quickly reach double-digit margins, but the venture has struggled to make a profit.
Chinese vendors Huawei HWT.UL, ZTE 0763.HK and market leader Ericsson ERICb.ST have aggressively grabbed a share of the global market over the past few years, benefiting from challenges faced by NSN and Alcatel-Lucent ALUA.PA.
Both parents have written down the value of their holdings in NSN, the equity of which Bernstein Research has valued at 7-8 billion euros ($9.8-$11.2 billion).
Siemens has been looking for an exit since Peter Loescher took over as group chief executive in 2007, shortly after the venture started operations, sources have told Reuters.
While telecom gear has been much closer to Nokia’s core business over the years, its focus has shifted increasingly to cellphones and it said in August it was ready to cut its stake.
The venture said in August they had started negotiations with private equity firms to sell a stake in Nokia Siemens Networks, while together maintaining a majority.
Last week sources told Reuters the owners had made little progress in efforts to find a partner.
Kaeser said he was not able to provide a timeframe for the stake sale process.
(Writing by Tarmo Virki; Editing by Erica Billingham and Dan Lalor)
$1 = 0.7158 euro
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