Siemens does U-turn with offer for Parsons

Siemens, the German electrical engineering group, has made an offer to buy Parsons, Rolls-Royce's historic Tyneside steam turbine business, which could save 1,000 jobs at the site.

The surprise news came just a month after Siemens' top management in Germany had apparently ruled out interest in Parsons, describing the company as "covered in red ink" in an industry burdened by huge overcapacity.

The renewed interest follows the announcement by Siemens' British management last week that it wanted to refocus its strategy from manufacturing to services. A source close to the company suggested Parsons could bolster Siemens' power station servicing and contracting operations.

Jurgen Gehrels, Siemens' chief executive in the UK, said: "We are always looking at business opportunities, especially those where we can strengthen the position of our individual business and areas where we could improve the service we provide to our customers. I don't know yet whether Parsons is such a business opportunity but we are looking at it."

The news came as Rolls- Royce announced the loss of 333 jobs at Parsons from Monday. Barney McGill, representing the Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering Unions, said he would negotiate with management in an attempt to head off further redundancies.

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