Top investor urges Siemens Energy to take full control of wind turbine business

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FRANKFURT, Feb 14 (Reuters) - Siemens Energy (ENR1n.DE) should buy the rest of struggling wind turbine division Siemens Gamesa (SGREN.MC), Union Investment said on Monday, the first such demand by a major investor since a recent profit warning and leadership change.

Siemens Gamesa last month issued its third profit warning in nine months, a move that has led parent Siemens Energy to send board member Jochen Eickholt to take charge at the unit from March to become its third CEO in 18 months. read more

At the root of the problem lie supply chain issues and a delayed ramp up of Siemens Gamesa's next generation of onshore wind turbine, causing project delays and higher-than-expected costs that have also hit its parent.

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Ever since a spin-off from Siemens AG (SIEGn.DE), Siemens Energy has owned 67% in Spanish-listed Siemens Gamesa, creating a complex ownership structure that effectively gives it a majority in a business over which it has virtually no control.

"Siemens Energy must finally take over and integrate Siemens Gamesa completely," Union Investment, Siemens Energy's fifth-largest shareholder, said in a statement ahead of Siemens Energy's annual general meeting on Feb. 24.

"This will secure the urgently needed full control and at the same time increase the share of sales from renewable energies, which means killing two birds with one stone," said Vera Diehl, portfolio manager at Union Investment.

The comments by Union Investment, which according to Refinitiv data holds 1.19% in Siemens Energy, come after sources told Reuters last month that Siemens Energy was stepping up efforts to explore a full integration of the unit. read more

"Siemens Gamesa is a restructuring case and needs an experienced restructuring manager at the top," Diehl said, adding Union Investment would give Eickholt and his team the time needed for the turnaround.

"But we demand a detailed restructuring plan including milestones. Siemens Gamesa must get a grip on the project risks in onshore wind so that the profit warnings finally stop and the downward slide in Siemens Energy's share price is halted."

($1 = 0.8842 euros)

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Reporting by Christoph Steitz; Editing by Michael Urquhart

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