UPDATE 1-Bilfinger buys US water firm in drive for new customers
* Buys Johnson Screens from Weatherford International
Does not disclose purchase price
* Johnson has 1,200 employees, annual output of 160 mln euros
* Shares rise 2.3 pct, outperform midcap index
FRANKFURT, Jan 18 (Reuters) - Germany's Bilfinger, which has shifted from construction to servicing industrial plants, is to buy water technology company Johnson Screens for an undisclosed sum to access customers in the United States and Australia.
Johnson Screens, until now owned by Weatherford International Ltd, made output - sales including revenues from minority partners - of 160 million euros ($214 million) in 2011, compared with Bilfinger's 8.5 billion euros, Bilfinger said on Friday.
"The company gives us access to markets we don't serve right now and to technology we do not have," said a spokesman.
Bilfinger, which traces its roots to a bridge builder founded in 1883, has been reducing its more risky construction operations in favour of maintaining, modernising and operating buildings, industrial plants and power stations.
It has not turned itself into a fully-fledged plant maker, but rather cleans and maintains plants to avoid having the responsibility for the completion and functioning of a whole facility.
Acquisitions are one of the means Bilfinger is using to meet its target to double net income to 400 million euros in 2016 and raise earnings before interest, taxes and amortisation (EBITA) to 700 million euros.
The takeover of Johnson Screens allows Bilfinger to double its output volume in the water and waste water sector and to further increase the strong profitability of this sector, the German company said, without being more specific.
In December the company had about 1 billion euros for takeovers after spending about 500 million euros on acquisitions, including Dutch project planner Tebodin.
The company was looking at several opportunities for deals, mainly in the United States, India and southeast Asia, Koch said in an interview in August last year.
He would only reluctantly pay more than a multiple of 6 to 8 times a target company's EBITA, though this was at the low end of usual takeover prices, Koch said.
Bilfinger shares were up 2.3 percent to 74.88 euros at 0950 GMT, outperforming a 0.4 percent increase for the MDAX index of mid-sized stocks traded in Frankfurt.
DZ Bank analyst Marc Nettelbeck described it as an "attractive" acquisition. "We appreciate Bilfinger's step-by-step M&A approach," he wrote in a note to clients, confirming a 'Buy' rating on the stock.