Siemens Energy began trading at the Frankfurt stock exchange, with the energy spin-off of Siemens AG trying to balance the German industrial giant’s fossil legacy with major renewables-focused operations in wind turbine manufacture, green hydrogen and offshore wind transmission technology.

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With an opening price of €22.01 per share, Siemens Energy in an instant became a stock market giant with a capitalisation of €15.99bn ($18.59bn), before receding somewhat to €21.82 per share in early morning trading.

“As an independent company, we now have the entrepreneurial flexibility we need to help shape the global transformation of the energy markets in a sustainable and economically successful manner,” Siemens Energy chief executive Christian Bruch said.

“We are now doing everything in our power to seize the opportunities offered by the global energy transformation. Our 91,000 employees are committed to helping our customers transforming the energy market."

Siemens AG remains the largest shareholder in the spun-off company with a 35.1% stake, while the Siemens Pension-Trust owns another 9.9%.

Siemens Energy, meanwhile, holds 67% in German-Spanish wind turbine manufacturer Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy (SGRE).

Altogether, an estimated one-sixth of the world's power generation is based on technologies from Siemens Energy, the company claims, as its biggest division manufactures gas and steam turbines, as well as generators.

The company plans to phase out its fossil business only very slowly, unlike its US rival General Electric (GE), which recently announced plans to at least exit the market for new coal-fired power plants.

In an attempt to approach the climate movement, Siemens CEO Joe Kaeser in January had offered a seat on the board of Siemens Energy to Luisa Neubauer, Germany’s best-known activist from Fridays for Future, but Neubauer declined, fearing for her independence.

Former parent Siemens said the listing of Siemens Energy has completed its structural realignment into three independent companies – Siemens AG, which concentrates on the digital transformation of industry, health technology firm Siemens Healthineers, and Siemens Energy.

“The separately listed companies will be in a significantly better position to tap the individual businesses’ value-creating potential than would be possible in a conglomerate,” Kaeser said.

Siemens chief financial officer Ralf Thomas added: “The spin-off will create an independent and agile energy champion with a strong brand and Siemens’ engineering DNA.”

Siemens AG within the next 12 to 18 months intends to further reduce its equity stake in Siemens Energy significantly.