Siemens has raised its guidance for 2021 after reporting a quicker than expected rebound in the automotive and machine building sectors following the Covid-19 downturn last year. 

The trains to industrial software company said it was seeing strong improvements in China and Germany as customers who stayed on the sidelines during the pandemic ramped up production. 

Sales in China increased by 21% during the three months to the end of December, driven by increased demand for factory automation. 

Among the projects cited by Siemens was the company helping the BMW Brilliance joint venture increase its production capacity at its car factories. 

Sales in Germany increased by 8%, Siemens said, as the country's export sector recovered. 

Siemens' results are important as they point to the health of the broader industrial sector as it recovers from the coronavirus downturn during 2020. 

During its first fiscal quarter, Siemens beat forecasts for sales, orders and profit, prompting it to raise its guidance in the last results under longstanding chief executive Joe Kaeser. 

"We're getting through the pandemic well and have achieved excellent performance at the same time," deputy chief executive Roland Busch told reporters. 

Siemens now expects growth in the mid to high single digit percentage range in the 12 months to the end of September, up from its previous view for moderate growth - equivalent to 3-5% - it outlined last November.

For its first quarter, the Munich-based company posted adjusted industrial profit rising 39% to €2.13 billion, beating forecasts for €1.67 billion in a company-gathered consensus of analysts' forecasts. 

Orders rose 11% to €15.94 billion, beating forecasts of €13.90 billion while revenue rose to €14.07 billion, beating the €12.73 billion expected. 

"Our team has delivered an outstanding performance in a rather complex environment," said Kaeser, who steps down after the shareholders' meeting today after leading Siemens since August 2013. 

"I am grateful to be able to hand over such a strong enterprise to the next generation of management," added the 63-year-old, who will be replaced by Busch.  

Siemens had already pre-announced preliminary figures for its first quarter, showing how its digital industries and smart infrastructure had increased sales and beaten profit expectations.