ABB Company Profile
ABB, short for ASEA Brown Boveri, is a Swiss-Swedish multinational corporation headquartered in Zürich, Switzerland, operating mainly in the power andautomation technology areas.
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 andnuclear 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  from Rolls-Royce  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), a consortium formed in 1995 by the governments of the United States, Japan, South Korea and the European Union. 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 to BNFL and merged intoWestinghouse 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.
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 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. In August 2007,Lummus Global was sold to CB&I.
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.
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