March 20, 2019 / 3:16 PM / 6 months ago

UPDATE 1-Osram CEO says annual targets tough to reach, shares fall

* Automotive weakness hits lighting-to-photonics transition

* More cost cuts may be needed - CEO

* Share price falls by 2.6 pct after CEO interview (Adds CEO comment on cost cuts, context)

MUNICH, March 20 (Reuters) - German lighting company Osram Licht will find it tough to meet its full-year targets due to weakening demand, CEO Olaf Berlien said on Wednesday, cautioning that further cost cuts may be necessary.

Munich-based Osram is trying to complete a transition into a photonics company focused on semiconductor-based technologies used in ‘intelligent’ lighting for buildings, in smartphones or self-driving cars.

It faces headwinds in particular in automotive markets, where weakness often ripples through semiconductor and component supply chains early in downturns, Berlien said in an interview posted on the company’s intranet.

“If we look at the situation of many customers and at general economic expectations, it now seems even more difficult to achieve our targets for this year,” Berlien said, according to a transcript of the interview seen by Reuters.

Shares in Osram fell on the news and traded 2.6 percent lower at 1510 GMT.

The company was floated in 2013 by Siemens, the industrial conglomerate, which sold its last shares in the business in late 2017.

A subject of constant speculation over the last months, Osram in February confirmed that private equity firms Bain Capital and Carlyle Group were considering a joint takeover offer.

Osram said in January, as it announced a round of cost cuts, that it expected revenue growth in the year to Sept. 30 of at most 3 percent, and an adjusted EBITDA margin of 12-14 percent.

“The situation demands considerable effort from all of us because the economic slowdown has caught us as we are transforming our company into a high-tech photonics company,” Berlien said.

“Achieving savings is important and will remain so. No one can predict how long the dry spell will last. It is therefore all the more important that we all maintain strictest cost discipline. We may even need to intensify our efforts.” (Reporting by Alexander Huebner Writing by Douglas Busvine Editing by Tassilo Hummel and Michelle Martin)

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