Bilfinger Said to Explore Bid for Siemens Water Business

Bilfinger SE, Germany’s second-biggest construction company, is considering a bid for the water technologies business that Siemens AG is selling, according to two people familiar with the matter.

The business, based in Warrendale, Pennsylvania, is one of several prospective takeover targets, said the people, who asked not to be named as the plans are not public. Bilfinger Chief Executive Officer Roland Koch yesterday reiterated he has 850 million euros ($1.1 billion) available for acquisitions.

Siemens’s water business, which includes wastewater treatment and purifying technologies, may have a value of 500 million euros to 900 million euros, Morgan Stanley said in a March note. The unit has annual sales of about 1 billion euros and 5,400 employees. Representatives from Bilfinger and Siemens declined to comment.

Koch plans to turn Mannheim-based Bilfinger into a service provider, shifting away from its construction past. Bilfinger already employs 2,000 people in the water technologies segment, after it agreed to buy U.S. water-treatment equipment maker Johnson Screens in January and Italian filtration system manufacturer Diemme in 2011.

The services units that Hochtief AG, Germany’s biggest builder, is trying to sell are another acquisition option for Bilfinger, Koch said March 13.

Siemens, Europe’s largest engineering company, is seeking to offload units with low profitability or growth prospects as it tries to boost operational profit. Other units for sale include the parcel automation, airport logistics and solar businesses. Among the 2,100 patents and trademarks of the water business is the 1913 invention of the chlorinator to disinfect drinking water.

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