FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Siemens' CEO said its healthcare unit would remain within the company for the foreseeable future, dismissing speculation about a disposal, which emerged after Siemens announced the legal separation of the business this month.
"The healthcare unit will be operated as an independent company within the company as we aim to strengthen the health business at Siemens and to prepare it for the future," Joe Kaeser told the German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung.
Siemens had said the legal separation of its healthcare unit in countries including Germany was part of a move to give it more independence, which was widely seen as a possible precursor to a full or partial disposal.
Kaeser, who took over in a boardroom coup a year ago, is on a mission to simplify the once-sprawling conglomerate, weeding out or fixing underperforming businesses and allowing the stronger ones to shine.
Siemens announced the sale of its hearing-aid unit this month after having sold a hospital IT unit and its stake in home appliances joint venture SBH.
Asked about Siemens' Russian business, Kaeser said the group had seen a significant decline in orders since the beginning of the Ukraine crisis, which prompted Western sanctions against Moscow.
The group's forecast of flat sales globally in 2015 was deliberately cautious, the chief executive said.
"Possibly, an improvement is reachable if the crisis does not deepen or even eases," he was quoted as saying.
Reporting by Kirsti Knolle; Editing by Dale Hudson