Asea Brown Boveri: Wikis


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ABB Ltd.
Founded 1988 through merger of ASEA of Sweden and Brown, Boveri & Cie of Switzerland
Headquarters Zürich, Switzerland
Area served Worldwide
Key people Joseph Hogan (CEO), Hubertus von Grünberg (Chairman of the board)
Industry Power technology, Industrial automation
Revenue US $31.80 billion (2009)[1]
Operating income US $4.126 billion (2009)[1]
Profit US $2.901 billion (2009)[1]
Total assets US $34.73 billion (2009)[1]
Total equity US $14.47 billion (2009)[1]
Employees 117,000 (2009)[1]

ABB, short for ASEA Brown Boveri, is a Swiss-Swedish multinational corporation headquartered in Zürich, Switzerland, operating mainly in the power and automation technology areas.

ABB is one of the largest engineering companies as well as one of the largest conglomerate companies in the world. ABB has operations in around 100 countries, with approximately 117,000 employees (2009).

ABB is traded on the SIX Swiss Exchange in Zürich, the Stockholm Stock Exchange in Sweden, and the New York Stock Exchange in the United States.



ABB is the world's largest builder of electricity grids and is active in many sectors with its core businesses in power and automation technology.


Power Products

The division incorporates ABB's manufacturing network for transformers, switchgear, circuit breakers, cables, and associated high voltage and medium voltage equipment such as digital protective relays. Power Products are the key components to transmit and distribute electricity. It also offers maintenance services. The division is subdivided into three business units - High Voltage Products, Medium Voltage Products and Transformers

Power Systems

Power Systems offers turnkey systems and service for power transmission and distribution grids, and for power plants. Electrical substations and substation automation systems are key areas. Additional highlights include flexible alternating current transmission systems (FACTS), high-voltage direct current (HVDC) systems and network management systems. In power generation, Power Systems offers the instrumentation, control and electrification of power plants. The division is subdivided into four business units - Grid Systems, Substations, Network Management, and Power Generation.

Automation Products

It provides products including drives, electric motors and generators, low voltage products, instrumentation and analytical, and power electronics. Customers include a wide range of industry and utility operations, plus commercial and residential buildings.

Process Automation

The main focus of this ABB business is to provide customers with products and solutions for instrumentation, automation and optimization of industrial processes. The industries served include oil and gas, power, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, pulp and paper, metals and minerals, marine and turbocharging.


ABB has one of the world's largest installed bases of industrial robots and also provides application equipment, robot software, peripheral equipment, modular manufacturing cells and service. ABB's robots are available for a diverse range of tasks such as welding, assembly, painting and finishing, picking, packing, palletizing, materials handling and machine tending. Key markets include automotive, plastics, metal fabrication, foundry, packaging, material handling, and food & beverage industries. In 2006 ABB's global robotics headquarters moved to Shanghai, China.

Other areas of activity

The company's Building Systems still operates in a handful of countries. It provides services for building facilities encompassing indoor air quality, building automation as well as power distribution and management. In the UK, ABB has supplied and installed Highway / Street / Public Lighting for developers, councils and others. In Australia, ABB plays a major role in the installation and maintenance of the country's copper-wire telephone network or 'local loop' (owned by Telstra).


ABB resulted from the 1988 merger of Swedish and Swiss corporations ASEA and BBC Brown Boveri (Brown, Boveri & Cie), the latter had absorbed the Maschinenfabrik Oerlikon in 1967. CEO at the time of the merger was the former CEO of ASEA, Percy Barnevik, who ran the company until 1996.

ABB's history goes back to the late nineteenth century. ASEA was incorporated in 1883 and Brown, Boveri & Cie (BBC) was formed in 1891.

In the early 1990s, ABB purchased Combustion Engineering (C-E) headquartered in Stamford and Norwalk, Connecticut, a leading U.S. firm in the development of conventional fossil fuel power and nuclear power supply systems to break into the North American market. Continuing with its expansion plans, ABB purchased ELSAG BAILEY in 1997, which included Bailey Controls, Hartmann & Braun, and Fischer & Porter. This was the largest acquisition to date in ABB's history.

ABB bought International Combustion Ltd [2] from Rolls-Royce [3] in 1997.

In 2000, ABB signed a contract for the delivery of equipment and services for two North Korean nuclear powerplants to be supplied under an agreement with the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO),[4] a consortium formed in 1995 by the governments of the United States, Japan, South Korea and the European Union.[5] Also in 2000, ABB formally divested from a joint venture named ABB-Alstom Power and sold its interest in conventional power generation systems and rail transportation to Alstom Power. ABB's nuclear business was sold[6] to BNFL and merged into Westinghouse Electric Company.

In 2002 ABB asked Lindahl, the company's former chief executive, to return some of his $50 million retirement pay, which its board called excessive. ABB also asked its former chairman Percy Barnevik to pay back part of his $87 million pension package. The size of the pensions was disclosed at the same time as ABB's huge $691 million net loss for 2001 made headlines and drew sharp criticism in Switzerland and Sweden.[7]

ABB was formally listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 2001. Also during that year, ABB was ranked as number one on the Dow Jones corporate sustainability index[8] for the third year in a row.

ABB went through a reorganization in 2005 to focus on the company's core business of power and automation technologies. The reorganization created the current structure of ABB with five business sectors (units) consisting of Power Products, Power Systems, Automation Products, Process Automation, and Robotics.

In 2006, ABB returned to financial health by settling its asbestos liability regarding claims that were filed against ABB's U.S. subsidiaries, Combustion Engineering and Lummus Global.[9] In August 2007, Lummus Global was sold to CB&I.[10]

In 2009, ABB realigned automation divisions to enhance growth opportunities. The result of transformation is as follows:

Effective Jan. 1, 2010, the business units currently in the Automation Products and Robotics divisions will be regrouped into two new divisions – Discrete Automation and Motion, and Low Voltage Products. The Process Automation division will remain unchanged except for the addition of the instrumentation business from the Automation Products division.

The new divisions will be comprised as follows:

  • The new Low Voltage Products division includes businesses producing mainly low-voltage electrical equipment that is sold to wholesalers, original equipment manufacturers as well as system integrators. The division had 2008 pro-forma revenue of $4.8 billion and about 19,000 employees.
  • The new Discrete Automation and Motion division includes products and systems for manufacturing, such as robotics and programmable logic controllers (PLCs), and providing motion in plants, such as motors and drives. The businesses sell mainly to original equipment manufacturers, system integrators and directly to end users. The division had 2008 pro-forma revenue of $6.6 billion and also about 19,000 employees.
  • Process Automation will remain unchanged except for the addition of ABB’s instrumentation business, currently part of the Automation Products division. The division had 2008 pro-forma revenue of $8.4 billion and about 29,500 employees.[11]

History of leadership

On July 17, 2008, the Board of Directors of ABB Ltd. announced that Joseph Hogan has been appointed Chief Executive Officer of the ABB Group as of September first. Mr. Hogan is the former head of GE Healthcare.[12] Mr. Hogan holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Geneva College and an MBA from Robert Morris University, both located in Pennsylvania.

Former CEOs:

  • September 2008 onwards: Joe Hogan
  • February 2008 - September 2008: Michel Demaré - ad interim
  • January 2005 - February 2008: Fred Kindle
  • September 2002 - December 2004: Jürgen Dormann
  • January 2001 - September 2002: Jörgen Centerman
  • January 1997 - December 2000: Göran Lindahl
  • 1987-1996: Percy Barnevik

The Board of Directors[13] is chaired by Hubertus von Grünberg. He took over the position in May 2007, following the retirement of Jürgen Dormann, who had chaired the board since 2002.

Former Board Members:

Primary investors

Fully half of ABB's shareholders reside in Sweden. The largest single stake in the firm is held by the Swedish investment company Investor AB, controlled by the Wallenberg family, which holds 7.3%.[14]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Annual Results 2009". ABB.$FILE/ABB+Q4+and+full+year+results+2009+financial+statements_English.pdf. Retrieved 2010-03-04. 
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Press release: ABB to deliver systems, equipment to North Korean nuclear plants". ABB. 20 January 2000. Retrieved 2009-09-13. 
  5. ^ Randeep Ramesh (2003-05-09). "The two faces of Rumsfeld". The Guardian.,2763,952289,00.html. 
  6. ^ "Press release: ABB to sell nuclear business to BNFL". ABB. 29 December 1999. Retrieved 2009-09-13. 
  7. ^ CorpWatch: UN: Swedish Businessman Loses Job
  8. ^ "Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes". 
  9. ^ Uncredited (September 1, 2006). "ABB asbestos claims resolved". Reuters. 
  10. ^ CB&I to buy Lummus Global from ABB
  11. ^ ABB realigns automation divisions to enhance growth opportunities
  12. ^ ABB: ABB appoints Joseph Hogan as new CEO
  13. ^ ABB Board of Directors
  14. ^ "ABB’s New CEO: Sweden is Important for the Group". Dagens Industri. May 5, 2009. 

External links

Simple English





ABB Ltd.

Type Public (Template:SWX, Template:OMX, NYSE: ABB)
Founded 1988 through merger of ASEA (1883) of Sweden and Brown, Boveri & Cie (1891) of Switzerland
Headquarters Zürich, Switzerland
Key people Joe Hogan CEO
Industry Power technology, Industrial Automation
Revenue $31.8 billion USD (2009)
Employees 117,000 (2009)

ABB Group is a power and automation company based in Zürich, Switzerland. It is one of the world's largest engineering multinationals with operations in around 100 countries. The company has five divisions: Power Products, Power Systems, Discrete Automation & Motion, Low Voltage Products and Process Automation.


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