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German giant Siemens AG is spending $3.5bn on Texan firm UGS which makes industrial automation software.

UGS turned over $1.2bn and made earnings before interest tax depreciation and amortization of $241m in fiscal 2005.

In other news Siemens is planning a share float for its automotive division Siemens VDO Automotive. It is one of the largest Siemens groups with sales of €10bn. Siemens AG will keep a majority stake in the business. Read the whole press release here.

All of which is still not enough to distract us from the fact that Siemens AG is also facing the largest ever fine imposed on one company for one offence by the European Commission.

Ten companies were fined a total of €750m for running a price cartel in equipment for power stations.

Siemens has to pick up more than half the bill - it is being fined €396.5m. Siemens and two other companies had their fines increased by 50 per cent because they acted as secretaries to the cartel. They fixed prices for gas insultated switchgear sold to electricity companies.

Neelie Kroes, the Competition Commissioner, said: “The Commission has put an end to a cartel which has cheated public utility companies and consumers for more than 16 years. The Commission has once more shown that it will not tolerate cartels in Europe and the damage that they do in any area of business."

The Commission press release is available here.®

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