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UPDATE 2-Osram promises first dividend as restructuring pays off
November 12, 2013 / 6:41 AM / 4 years ago

UPDATE 2-Osram promises first dividend as restructuring pays off

* Sees net profit rising sharply from 34 mln euros

* Sees adjusted EBITA margin above 8 pct this year

* Says now aims for 8,700 job cuts, 1.2 bln euros savings

* Shares up 5.6 percent

MUNICH, Nov 12 (Reuters) - German lighting maker Osram Licht AG, spun off from engineering group Siemens earlier this year, expects to pay shareholders its first dividend for its current year as it widens a sweeping restructuring programme.

Osram, the world’s No.2 lighting maker after Philips , is in the midst of a restructuring, having been slow to adjust to a shift in demand from traditional light bulbs to newer technologies such as light-emitting diodes (LEDs).

It said on Tuesday it was now cutting an overall 8,700 jobs, or 21 percent of its workforce, in addition to shuttering a quarter of its 43 factories, to generate gross savings of 1.2 billion euros ($1.6 billion).

The company had previously said it planned to cut 8,000 jobs to save 1 billion euros.

Osram’s stock has gained 68 percent since its stock market debut on July 8 in a sign that investors have faith in the company’s ability to turn around its business, but the group still faces major challenges.

Semiconductor-based LED technology is rapidly gaining in popularity as it is more energy efficient, longer-lasting and more flexible in its design than traditional types of lighting.

But the technology shift has caused a market shakeup as new competitors such as South Korea’s Samsung Electronics and Japan’s Toyoda Gosei grab market share from the incumbents in the lighting market - Philips, Osram and General Electric.

Osram, the top supplier for automotive and display lighting, is now racing its peers to adapt to the changed market.


So far, only two of its remaining 36 factories make LEDs - in Regensburg, Germany and Penang, Malaysia - but it is building a new plant in China at a cost of over 100 million euros to boost its presence in the fast-growing Asian market.

It is also banking on modular product platforms to help it keep up with rapid product cycles by using the same parts for various different products and switching out individual components when technology advances.

It expects to post a sharp rise in annual net profit this year from last year’s 34 million euros and reach a target of adjusted operating profit of more than 8 percent, up from 7.7 percent last year.

Analysts on average see net profit jumping to 211 million euros this year.

Osram, whose lamps are used to light up Disneyland Paris and the Hippodrom beer tent at Munich’s Oktoberfest, has said it aims to pay shareholders between 30 percent and 50 percent of its annual net profit as a dividend in the longer run.

Finance chief Klaus Patzak said on Tuesday that policy would apply to the current year already.

Shares in Osram rose 5.6 percent to 40.32 euro by 0945 GMT, outperforming the German mid-cap index, which was down 0.4 percent.

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