MUNICH (dpa-AFX) - The energy technology group Siemens Energy has reaffirmed its timetable for restructuring its loss-making wind power business at the Annual Shareholders' Meeting. Siemens Gamesa is expected to break even in fiscal 2026, the company's management confirmed on Monday at the shareholders' meeting, which was held purely digitally. "We are doing everything we can to turn the wind business around as quickly as possible." However, shareholder representatives were harsh in their criticism of the Group's approach to solving the problems in the wind business. Several shareholders, including the fund companies Union Investment and DWS, announced that they would refuse to ratify the actions of the Management Board.

Siemens Gamesa made a loss of around 4.6 billion euros for the energy technology group in the last financial year 2022/23 (as at the end of September). Quality defects in the 4.X and 5.X land turbines led to provisions running into the billions. In addition, there were higher start-up costs for the expansion of capacities for marine plants.

All of this came to light after Siemens Energy took over the already problematic subsidiary in its entirety. As a result, Siemens Energy had to make use of state guarantees to secure orders. When this became known at the end of last October, the share price plummeted.

Shareholder representatives were therefore not sparing in their criticism. Fund manager Ingo Speich from Deka Investment complained of another "lost year" for shareholders. Group CEO Bruch was fighting like "Don Quixote against windmills" without making any progress. Arne Rautenberg from Union Investment complained that the problems at Siemens Gamesa had either not been "fully recognized or had been talked about". Siemens Energy had scored a "capital own goal" with the "completely overpriced complete takeover".

Hendrik Schmidt from DWS, the fund subsidiary of Deutsche Bank, took a similar line: "The fact that the enormous additional charges at Gamesa occurred so soon after the complete takeover and after additional investor funds had been raised leaves us with doubts about the preceding due diligence process". Bruch rejected this criticism. The measures were "appropriate". No one had been deceived during the takeover, nor had any mistakes been made.

Correcting the quality deficiencies of the 4.X and 5.X platforms is a "top priority", Bruch said. This will probably take several years. "We are also pursuing claims against suppliers of faulty components." Sales are currently suspended. When asked by shareholders, Bruch was unable to say when sales would resume. A decision is expected to be made this year.

Supervisory Board Chairman Joe Kaeser said that the operational restructuring and strategic realignment of the wind business was "of outstanding importance for the company as a whole". The - accelerated - downturn of the past two years leaves "little room" for disappointment in the business. "The largely successful energy business must not be affected by further burdens at Siemens Gamesa." He expressed his confidence in the Managing Board.

However, the proposal to appoint Veronika Grimm, an economist, to the Supervisory Board was viewed positively by the shareholders. According to Schmidt from DWS, they would be happy to approve her election. The proposal is convincing from a professional point of view and represents "a good and independent addition to the Supervisory Board". Among others, Ralf Thomas, CFO of the former parent company Siemens, will be leaving.

Grimm's nomination had previously caused a stir. Members of the German government's Council of Experts feared conflicts of interest. They suggested that the scientist relinquish her Supervisory Board mandate at Siemens Energy or leave the committee.

The nomination proposal caused a stir, admitted Supervisory Board Chairman Kaeser. "In addition to a large number of positive and impressed voices, questions were also raised about possible conflicts of interest. Rest assured that the Nomination Committee and Professor Grimm have also discussed and examined this issue with the relevant authorities," he said.

In addition to Grimm, Simone Menne, a former member of the Lufthansa Executive Board, is also to join the Supervisory Board. Here, shareholders criticized the accumulation of offices./nas/mis/he