LONDON — Siemens reported a net income of 1.9 billion euros ($2.24 billion) for its fourth quarter, up by 28% from a year ago. The increase was boosted by the spin-off of Siemens Energy and other income from discontinued operations.
However, Siemens' orders and revenues were "strongly impacted" by negative currency translation effects during the same period. The German engineering giant works across industries including energy, healthcare and manufacturing.
Delivering his final results as company CEO, Joe Kaeser told CNBC that he was "very satisfied" with the earnings.
"We must not forget that the currency impact has been significant in the fourth quarter, mostly due to the U.S. dollar/euro relations, so if you really look at comparable numbers, I believe that being up 2% on orders year-over-year pre-Covid is not that bad of a thing," he told CNBC's Annette Weisbach.
The euro has strengthened against the U.S. dollar in recent months, hitting European exporters such as Siemens.
Siemens' orders came in at 15.56 billion euros for the quarter, and revenue was 15.3 billion euros. On a comparable basis, orders were 2% higher, but revenue fell 3%.
Kaeser said that Siemens had overcome the first wave of Covid-19 infections in Europe "reasonably well." However, he said there was still some uncertainty as to how the business would weather the ongoing second spike of cases in Europe. As such, he said the outlook for 2021 was "cautious."
Meanwhile, news earlier this week that the vaccine being developed by Pfizer and BioNTech was more than 90% effective in preventing the infections have boosted optimism around the pandemic.
There is a light at the end of the tunnel, the question is how long it's going to take until we are there," Kaeser said.
"The jury is out obviously, the uncertainty with the pandemic is big."