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Osram’s Quarterly Profit Bolstered by Push Into Infrared

Osram Licht AG’s third-quarter profit beat estimates as the former Siemens AG lighting unit focuses more on infrared components for smartphones and applications for self-driving cars.

Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization rose 2.9 percent to 174 million euros ($202 million), the Munich-based company said in a statement late Wednesday. Analysts predicted 166 million euros on average. The company also said it acquired a 25 percent stake in Canadian autonomous driving company LeddarTech Inc. for an undisclosed amount.

Osram has shifted its focus to making high-tech components from producing light bulbs and other lighting equipment. Its opto-semiconductors unit manufactures products ranging from smartphone iris scanners to a technology known as LIDAR that uses light beams to help guide cars.

The LIDAR business is going to be the second cornerstone of the company alongside infrared applications, Osram CFO Ingo Bank said in a Bloomberg TV interview Thursday.

“LIDAR is another critical building block for us,” Bank said. “Anything that has to do with autonomous driving and the digital aspect of it is of interest.”

Shares rose 1.1 percent to 69.73 euros at 10:00 a.m. in Frankfurt, giving a market value of 7.3 billion euros.

“Osram’s operating performance continues to be very strong,” Chief Executive Officer Olaf Berlien said in the statement. “We are forging ahead with our transformation into a systems provider.”

The Opto Semiconductors unit was responsible for most of the growth in the latest quarter with an 18 percent rise in comparable revenue, compared with a 2.3 percent drop at the specialty lighting business. Sales fell 3.8 percent at its so-called Lighting Solutions System unit, singled out in the past by Berlien as needing improvement. Osram repeated its full-year outlook.

Osram is also nearing the completion of its LED-chip plant in Kulim, Malaysia, a site that became the focus of tension between the company and its former parent, Siemens AG, which still retains a 17 percent stake.