Siemens Fined, Unhappy With NSN

German conglomerate Siemens AG (NYSE: SI; Frankfurt: SIE) has been fined €201 million (US$284 million) by the Munich District Court over the bribery scandal at its former Communications group.

The court began its investigation into bribes associated with telecom equipment contracts last year. The fine marks the end of the probe into Siemens' involvement in the scandal. (See Corruption Probe Targets Siemens Staff and Siemens Extends Probe.)

Siemens says it will also take a €179 million ($253 million) tax charge related to "questionable payments of approximately €420 million" ($594 million).

The bribes probe held up the formation of the Nokia Networks joint venture, and contributed to the departure of former Siemens CEO Klaus Kleinfeld. (See Nokia Siemens JV in Jeopardy and Siemens CEO Quits.)

To compound the company's telecom woes, Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN), the joint venture comprising the former Siemens Communications group and Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK)'s infrastructure business, has had a rough ride since it began operations on April 1. (See Instant Revamp for Nokia Siemens and Nokia Siemens Suffers Merger Blues.)

Those problems led to speculation earlier this week that Siemens might look to cut its losses and exit the joint venture. (See Siemens Mum on NSN Sale Talk.)

In a press briefing held late Thursday, new Siemens CEO Peter Löscher, responding to questions about whether Siemens would look to sell its 50 percent stake in the venture, told reporters he was "absolutely not satisfied with NSN," citing tough market conditions as the cause of the venture's early struggles. (See Siemens Has New CEO.)

Löscher held the press briefing to outline his plans for a simpler organizational structure and a management shakeup at Siemens, which currently comprises nine separate operating units.

NSN is not the only major telecom vendor finding the going tough at the moment. (See Tellabs Trips Over Wireless and Tough Month Ahead for AlcaLu's Russo.)

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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