Siemens AG has reported first quarter group net profit down 5%, although it still forecasts unchanged profit for the full year. Falling memory prices were blamed for part of the shortfall. Group net profit fell 5% to the equivalent of $289.5m and The numbers are in line with the forecast, the company told Reuters from company headquarters in Munich. That cut no ice with analysts, who called the results slightly disappointing because Siemens said as recently as November that profit would be unchanged in 1996-97. A 5% drop is not unchanged, said Hans Peter Wodniok, a Credit Lyonnais analyst in Frankfurt. First quarter group sales did rather better, rising 6% to $12.66bn, and incoming orders surged 22% to $16.35bn. Siemens said that the pick-up in new orders was largely due to major projects, with growth led by energy, transport, telecommunications and information technology, and the Asia-Pacific region led the way with a leap in orders of 130%; they were also up 37% in the Americas. Orders in Germany rose 8% to $5.75bn. Around two percentage points of Siemens’ international growth can be attributed to the impact of the strong dollar, but the company expects growth to level off. Leading the growth sectors, public communication networks business saw first quarter orders rise 55% to $2.72bn and sales climb 38% to $1.69bn. The chip business by contrast suffered a 24% drop in orders, to $727m, and a 12% fall in sales to $606m. The workforce fell to 377,000 at the end of 1996, from 379,000 at the end of September, with some jobs being cut in Germany and added abroad. Private communications sales rose 21% to $1.33bn and orders by 19% to $1.39bn. At Siemens Nixdorf Informationssysteme AG, sales rose 11% to $2bn, orders by 17% to $2.18bn.