With profits for the first half of its fiscal year to September 30 up a smidgen, analysts are saying that this could mean the group’s full-year performance will be better than it has been predicting. Profits edged up to the equivalent of $523.5m as double-digit growth in international business outweighed continued weakness in the bombed-out German market. Sales at Siemens rose 3% to the equivalent of $22,630m. Only last month, Siemens forecast a 10% to 15% decline in profit for the full year, citing tough international competition and recession in Europe, but analysts now think this may prove unduly pessimistic. German orders fell 6.4% to $10,420m in the first; sales at Siemens Nixdorf Informationssysteme AG slipped 7% to $3,100m and orders also fell 7%, to $3,156m. In the coming half, Siemens says it should show continued modest improvement, but this will be down more to better financial returns than to operations. The number of employees continues to rise despite efforts to rationalise: the number rose to 397,000 from 391,000, due to the consolidation of subsidiaries. Overseas demand was particularly favourable for drives, switching and installation divisions, for automobile and medical technology, personal communications systems, and energy, the company said. Group foreign sales rose 13% to $15,577m and group foreign orders did better, rising 21% to $18,706m.