ABB reports strong growth in Q4 | Automation.com

ABB reports strong growth in Q4

February 17, 2011 – ABB reported strong order growth in the fourth quarter of 2010 and higher revenues driven by strong industrial demand for energy efficiency and improved productivity as well as recovering investments into power infrastructure.

The positive trend was reflected in a 17-percent increase in base orders (less than $15 million) – higher in all divisions – as industrial customers expanded capacity and improved efficiency. Orders also increased for power distribution equipment used to deliver reliable power to industrial and commercial customers. Large orders (above $15 million) increased by 21 percent on the award of several large power transmission projects in Europe and the Middle East.

Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) rose 23 percent to $978 million. EBIT includes previously-announced provisions of approximately $120 million, mostly related to a large project in the Power Systems division. Restructuring-related costs in the quarter were approximately $120 million.

The operational EBIT margin was 12.3 percent in the quarter despite the project charges and continued price pressure. ABB’s operational EBIT margin for the full-year and fourth-quarter 2010 was well within its target range of 11-16 percent.

The company’s $3-billion cost take-out program was completed on target in the fourth quarter. ABB plans to further reduce costs in 2011 by more than $1 billion.

Net income increased 30 percent to reach $700 million, while cash from operations was near last year’s record. Net cash at the end of the quarter was $6.4 billion. ABB’s Board of Directors has recommended a dividend of 0.60 Swiss francs per share, up from 0.51 Swiss francs last year.

Management comments
“We are satisfied with the 2010 results as ABB is today in a stronger position than before the financial crisis,” said Chief Executive Officer Joe Hogan. “Demand from industry and utility clients for short-cycle products gained momentum, contributing to the fastest base order growth in the past two years. Revenue growth accelerated compared to the third quarter, driven by strong industrial demand for energy efficiency and higher productivity. We achieved profitability well within our target range by leveraging our lower cost base. That allowed us to benefit from the ongoing recovery in automation and to successfully counter demand and price weakness in our longer-cycle businesses.

“The proposed dividend increase shows our confidence in the business. We see plenty of growth opportunities as we head into 2011 in both the short-term industry-driven businesses as well as later in the year when we expect utility spending on power equipment to begin a recovery,” Hogan said. “Long term trends for increased energy efficiency and flexible, more reliable power infrastructure remain very strong. ABB will seize these opportunities with a leaner cost base, an enhanced product portfolio and a more customer-focused organization.”


ABB is a leader in power and automation technologies that enable utility and industry customers to improve performance while lowering environmental impact. The ABB Group of companies operates in around 100 countries and employs about 124,000 people.

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