Siemens plans to restructure overseas operations

German conglomerate Siemens plans to restructure its international operations, according to a Reuters report quoting Die Welt newspaper.

CEO Peter Loescher was quoted saying, 'Siemens doesn't need a full-blown and identical representation in every country. In future, larger countries will be in charge of smaller countries. There will be regional centres.'

Loescher admitted that the number of the centres was still under discussion, but said it would certainly be fewer than two dozen.

Siemens is active in more than 190 countries and is under investigation by the US Securities and Exchange Commission, among other bodies, for making suspect payments to agents whose value Siemens has put at €1.3 billion so far, the Reuters report said.

Loescher, an outsider who took charge of Siemens in mid-2007 in the wake of resignations sparked by the corruption affair, is also working to speed up decision-making and cut administration costs to bring profitability up to the level of rivals. e declined to say how long this might take.

Loescher reiterated that Siemens was in 'highly advanced talks with interested parties' about selling its SEN corporate telecoms division, which it has been trying to dispose of for almost two years.The division, which missed the boat when companies switched to Internet telephony, has lost more than a billion euros in the past two years, according to the Reuters report.