Siemens asks suppliers to switch to euro

More than 14,000 British companies which supply the UK businesses of Siemens, the German electrical giant, are to be asked to switch from the pound to the European single currency in two years.

Siemens UK, which conducts business largely in sterling and had sales last year of pounds 1.5bn, will make presentations and hold seminars with suppliers from October to explain the change. The shift in Siemens' accounting policy will be implemented across the EU, regardless of whether the British government stays out of European monetary union (EMU).

Planning for EMU began at Siemens in 1995 and is now at an advanced stage. The German board has decided that from1 October 1999 the group will adopt the currency in all its European operations and draw up its accounts exclusively in euros.

The currency itself is due to start from 1 January 1999, though companies are not obliged to use it until 2002.

Bernd Euler, Siemens' UK finance director, will continue the seminars intermittently until 1999. Suppliers, many of which are small or medium- sized companies, will be given advice on changing their payments systems and dealing with the banks.

Siemens' British businesses, which make everything from traffic control systems to electricity meters, spent around pounds 1.3bn in the UK on goods and services last year.

Only prices of products which are generally internationally quoted in dollars, such as computer memory chips, are likely to be excluded.

"If they want the business then suppliers will probably be prepared to price things in euros, but we won't discriminate against them if they want to keep using sterling," a spokesman said.

One of the biggest advantages of the single currency for large groups is that it would make it easy to switch suppliers, allowing much clearer price comparisons.

However for the suppliers themselves it could make life harder, given the likelihood of continued sharp swings in sterling's value.

Despite the move to the euro, Jurgen Gehrels, chief executive of Siemens in the UK, is expected to avoid attacking Labour's detached policy on EMU.

Mr Gehrels was an outspoken critic of the previous government's reluctance to commit itself to closer European integration, warning that it could affect future investment decisions.

However, he has indicated since the election that the currency will be introduced "through the back door" by other European multinationals.

A Siemens spokesman said the accounting change was not a way of the company "trying to blackmail governments".

peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Fans hold up a scarf at West Ham vs Liverpool
footballAfter Arsenal's clear victory, focus turns to West Ham vs Liverpool
New Articles
i100... she's just started school
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
New Articles
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
New Articles
i100... despite rising prices
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Senior BA - Motor and Home Insurance

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: **URGENT CONTRACT ROLE**...

Market Risk & Control Manager

Up to £100k or £450p/d: Saxton Leigh: My client is a leading commodities tradi...

SQL Developer - Watford/NW London - £320 - £330 p/d - 6 months

£320 - £330 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...

Head of Audit

To £75,000 + Pension + Benefits + Bonus: Saxton Leigh: My client is looking f...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam