Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Siemens – Time to divest

Siemens, located in Germany, operates in three sectors, industry, energy and healthcare. 54% of its revenues comes from the industrial segment. Since I have owned it, I have lost about 36%, but it looks poised for a rebound. The last quarter was a strong quarter for Siemens. Siemen's plans to announce a 50 million wind power factory in Kansas. Siemen's will most likely be a recipient of the current administration's stimulus package for its so-called green energy. However, I would not invest in Siemen's, I would divest.

Siemen's is one company out of a growing number of companies in Europe that continues to do business with Iran. At a time when Iran is on the verge of developing a nuclear weapon, it is amazing to me how companies continue to do business with Tehran. Europe is much closer to Iran than the United States. The Wall Street Journal reports:

Siemens, the largest German trade partner of Iran, represents a window onto an opulent economic partnership between the two countries. German firms such as Mercedes-Benz, whose Web site lists an Iranian general distributor, and insurance giant Munich Re have also remained indifferent to the growing calls to isolate Iran economically. Yesterday, a Munich Re spokesman confirmed to me that the company insures goods in transit to Iran. This was the first such public disclosure by the firm.

And the deals just keep on coming. The Hannoversche Allgemeine newspaper, for example, reported in late January that the German engineering firm Aerzen secured a contract totaling €21 million to supply process gas blowers and screw-type compressors to a steel factory in Esfahan, Iran.

One of the major factors that brought down Apartheid in South Africa was the divesture movement. Universities led the movement, and eventually if a company did business with the government of South Africa, it was not good for the company. Apartheid was a moral cause, but it did not present a threat to the United States. Iran presents a direct threat. Where is the divesture movement with Iran?

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