A brief history 1987-2010

July 27, 2010: ABB successful in bid to acquire 75 percent stake in its Indian subsidiary
ABB says its open offer to increase the stake in its Indian subsidiary from 52 percent to 75 percent has been successful.

May 18, 2010: ABB to build new cable factory in US
ABB announces plan to build a new factory in the US to manufacture high-voltage land cables for power transmission.

May 5, 2010 ABB acquires Ventyx to strengthen its network management business
ABB agrees to acquire Ventyx for more than $1 billion from Vista Equity Partners to become a leading provider of software solutions for managing energy networks.

April 30, 2010: ABB inaugurates new semiconductor manufacturing unit in Switzerland
ABB inaugurates its expanded high-power semiconductor manufacturing plant in Lenzburg, Switzerland. The expansion is the end result of a three-year, $140 million investment, which includes new buildings and additional manufacturing lines. It substantially increases production capacity at the Lenzburg unit to help meet market demand for semiconductors, while maintaining ABB's standards of quality and delivery.

March 29, 2010: ABB expands its power semiconductor business amid rising demand
ABB agrees to acquire the semiconductor business of Polovodiče a.s. in the Czech Republic. The additional production capacity for high-power semiconductors will help ABB to cope with the expected rising demand fueled by growth in renewable energy and efforts to improve energy efficiency.

Jan. 8, 2009: ABB acquires full ownership of Finnish joint venture
ABB agrees to acquire the part of Finnish joint venture, Ensto Busch-Jaeger Oy that it doesn’t already own from privately held Ensto Oy, for an undisclosed amount.

July 17, 2008: ABB appoints Joe Hogan as new CEO
The Board of Directors of ABB appoints Joe Hogan as Chief Executive Officer of the ABB Group as of Sept. 1. Hogan is CEO of GE Healthcare, the global leader in medical diagnostic technology and biosciences, and is a member of the GE Senior Executive Council.

July 16, 2008: ABB agrees to buy Kuhlman Electric Corporation
ABB agrees to acquire US transformer company Kuhlman Electric Corporation for an undisclosed amount from global private equity firm The Carlyle Group to expand its power products portfolio in the Americas. Kuhlman Electric manufactures a wide range of high-quality transformers for the industrial and electric utility sectors.

May 5, 2008: ABB acquires New Zealand business to expand power electronics portfolio
ABB agrees to buy Vectek Electronics, a New Zealand company with innovative technology that improves the quality of the power supply in industrial installations, which helps to reduce downtime and increase productivity.

Feb. 14, 2008: Strong 2007 results on continued growth and operational improvement
ABB Group reports 2007 net income rose from $1.4 billion to $3.8 billion. Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) grew 57 percent to $4 billion and the EBIT margin, or EBIT as a percentage of revenues, rose to 13.8 percent from 11.0 percent in 2006.

Feb. 13, 2008: ABB CEO Fred Kindle leaves company
ABB Chief Executive Officer Fred Kindle leaves the company due to irreconcilable differences about how to lead the company. The Board of Directors named Chief Financial Officer Michel Demaré as interim CEO.

Nov. 19, 2007: ABB completes sale of Lummus Global
ABB completes the sale of its downstream oil and gas business Lummus Global to Chicago Bridge & Iron Co. (CB&I) for $950 million. The sale completes a long phase of divestments as part of a strategy to focus on power and automation activities.

May 3, 2007: ABB shareholders elect Von Grünberg to Board of Directors
Shareholders of ABB elect Hubertus von Grünberg to the Board of Directors at the group’s annual general meeting in Zurich today. The Board names him Chairman.

March 6, 2007: ABB sells building systems business in Germany
ABB agrees to sell the remainder of its building systems business to the systems business WISAG Group based in Frankfurt, Germany.

Feb. 23, 2007: ABB Board proposes Hubertus von Grünberg as its new Chairman
The Board of Directors of ABB nominated Hubertus von Grünberg to succeed Jürgen Dormann as Chairman.

Feb. 15, 2007: ABB reports record profit margin
ABB Group reports 2006 net income rose 89 percent to $1.39 billion, compared with $735 million a year earlier. Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) increased 45 percent to $2.59 billion and the EBIT margin, or EBIT as a percentage of revenues, rose to its highest level yet at 10.6 percent.

Feb. 2, 2007: ABB starts Lummus Global divestment process
ABB Group announces it will seek to divest its downstream oil and gas business, ABB Lummus Global. ABB sold its upstream oil and gas business – ABB Vetco Gray – in 2004. ABB emphasizes its intention to support the oil and gas sector with its core automation and power technology businesses.

Aug. 31, 2006: US District Court affirms Lummus Chapter 11 Plan of Reorganization
A Plan of Reorganization to settle claims against another US subsidiary, ABB Lummus Global Inc., becomes final, drawing a line under the uncertainty surrounding the company’s asbestos liabilities.

March 31, 2006: Asbestos plan finalized for ABB subsidiary in US
ABB's Plan of Reorganization to settle asbestos liabilities against Combustion Engineering, a US subsidiary, becomes final.

Feb. 16, 2006: ABB posts $735 million net profit for 2005
ABB reports 2005 net income of $735 million, its first full-year profit in five years.

Dec. 19, 2005: US Bankruptcy Court confirms plan of reorganization for Combustion Engineering
The US Bankruptcy Court in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, confirms a revised plan of reorganization for ABB's US subsidiary, Combustion Engineering, and recommends affirmation of the plan to the District Court.

Nov. 1, 2004: ABB appoints new Chief Financial Officer
ABB appoints Michel Demaré, CFO of the European operations of Baxter International, as Chief Financial Officer and member of the Group Executive Committee, effective Feb. 1, 2005.

Oct. 25, 2004: ABB announces new China strategy
ABB chairman and CEO Jürgen Dormann announces ABB's China strategy, which includes plans to hire 5,000 new employees and double orders and revenues by 2008.

Feb. 27, 2004: Fred Kindle becomes ABB's new CEO
ABB appoints Fred Kindle as the group's new chief executive, effective January 2005. Kindle, the former chief executive of Swiss-based technology concern, Sulzer AG, joined ABB on Sept. 1, 2004, and became CEO in the following January.

Jan. 16, 2004: ABB agrees to sell upstream Oil, Gas and Petrochemicals business
ABB agrees to sell the upstream part of its Oil, Gas and Petrochemicals division to a company formed by a group of private equity investors comprising Candover Partners Ltd, 3i and JP Morgan Partners. The sale is completed on July 14, 2004, for $925 million.

Dec. 9, 2003: ABB sells reinsurance business for $425 million
ABB agreed to sell its Sirius reinsurance business to White Mountains, the Bermuda-based insurance holding company, for a cash price of 3.2 billion Swedish kronor (about $425 million at the time).

Oct. 27, 2003: ABB announces capital strengthening program
ABB announces a broad program to strengthen its capital and financing structure. The program comprises a proposal to issue new shares worth the equivalent of approximately $2.5 billion, a newly agreed $1 billion bank credit facility and the launch of a new bond. Shareholders approve the capital increase at an extraordinary general meeting on Nov. 20, 2003.

July 28, 2003: ABB outsources information systems to IBM
ABB and IBM announce a 10-year agreement to outsource close to 90 percent of ABB's information systems infrastructure operations - including the transfer to IBM of more than 1,200 employees.

July 4, 2003: ABB sells Nordic Business Systems for $233 million
ABB says it has agreed to sell its Building Systems business in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland (including Russia and the Baltics) to YIT Corporation of Helsinki, Finland, for about $233 million.

Feb. 27, 2003: ABB reports net loss for 2002 despite strong performance by core divisions
ABB's core divisions, Power Technologies and Automation Technologies, show a strong performance in 2002, but the ABB Group reports a net loss for the full year as a result of asbestos charges and losses in discontinued operations.
Jan. 17, 2003: Pre-packaged bankruptcy plan for Combustion Engineering announced
ABB and its U.S. subsidiary Combustion Engineering (CE) announce they had agreed a pre -packaged bankruptcy plan for CE with representatives of asbestos plaintiffs, a significant milestone in the process to resolve CE’s asbestos liability.

Oct. 24, 2002: ABB streamlines divisional structure
As part of a drive to lower its cost base, ABB combines core businesses into two divisions, Power Technologies and Automation Technologies. The Oil, Gas and Petrochemicals division is kept as a separate unit, and the Group Processes division is dissolved. The Executive Committee is reduced from eight to six members.

Sept. 18, 2002: ABB sells metering business for $244 million
ABB sells its metering business to Ruhrgas Industries GmbH of Essen, Germany, for $244 million on a cash and debt-free basis. The sale is part of ABB’s strategy to focus on power and automation technologies. Proceeds are to be used to further reduce debt.

Sept. 5, 2002: ABB Board of Directors appoints Jürgen Dormann as CEO
Jürgen Dormann, Chairman of the Board, assumes operational leadership of the ABB Group, aiming to speed up effective implementation of the company strategy. Dormann says that under his leadership, ABB will continue to concentrate on its core activities in the fields of power and automation technologies.

Sept. 4, 2002: Structured Finance business sold to GE Commercial Finance for $2.3 billion
ABB signs an agreement to sell most of its Structured Finance business to GE Commercial Finance for total cash proceeds, including equity and debt, of about $2.3 billion. ABB’s net debt is to be cut by the same amount.

Feb. 18, 2002: ABB opens R&D center in India
ABB opens a research and development center in Bangalore to focus on software development and Industrial IT. With Industrial IT, ABB is integrating its entire power and automation technology offerings to enable utility or industry customers to make their installations more productive. The new ABB center, located in the International Technology Park (ITPL) in Bangalore, will initially bring together 30 to 50 industrial software programmers and engineers.

Feb. 13, 2002: ABB reports $691 million net loss for 2001
ABB reports a $691 million net loss for 2001 after an increase in provisions for asbestos liabilities, a change in the calculation method for some reinsurance reserves, asset write-downs, and costs and provisions for project losses. In local currencies, orders remained stable and revenues increased. EBIT fell to $279 million from $1.4 billion in 2000. Revenues increased 3 percent to $23.7 billion, or 8 percent in local currencies. The order backlog declined by 9 percent to $13.5 billion, or 4 percent in local currencies, compared with the previous year.

Jan. 30, 2002: ABB takes $470 million charge against 2001 earnings
ABB takes a $470 million charge against 2001 earnings to increase its provisions for US asbestos claims. The claims come from Combustion Engineering; a subsidiary in the US. With the charge, ABB is increasing its total asbestos provisions from $590 million at the end of 2000 to about $940 million. The number of new claims filed against Combustion Engineering increased from 39,000 in 2000 to 55,000 in 2001. The asbestos liabilities in the US come from claimed exposure to asbestos in products supplied before the mid-1970s by Combustion Engineering, a company ABB acquired in 1990.

Jan. 4, 2002: ABB sells 90-percent of shares in b-business partners for $166 million
Investor AB increases its position in b-business partners, a pan-European venture capital company, by acquiring 90 percent of ABB’s shares and capital commitments for $166 million. Investor's share of paid-in capital and future commitments rises to about 75 percent. This transaction is in line with ABB’s strategy of focusing on its main businesses in power and automation technologies.

Dec. 21, 2001: ABB sells railway electrification business for $38 million
ABB agrees to sell its railway electrification project business (overhead contact line) to Balfour Beatty Plc for $38 million as part of a strategy to focus on power and automation technologies for utilities and industry.

Dec. 10, 2001: ABB sells air handling business for $225 million
ABB sells its air handling equipment business to Global Air Movement (Luxembourg) SARL for $225 million, as part of a strategy to focus on power and automation technologies for utilities and industry. The air handling business reported revenues of around $440 million in 2000.

Nov. 14, 2001: ABB streamlines R&D to focus on software and Industrial IT
ABB streamlines its research and development to focus on technologies that increase productivity and sustainability for utility and industry customers, especially growth areas linked to its broad initiative called industrial information technology, patented as Industrial IT. In Europe, the shift in focus is coupled with a decrease from 760 to 550 scientists in Group R&D labs. In the US and Asia, Group R&D staffing will grow from 25 to 100 scientists in the new technology areas.

Oct. 24, 2001: Decline in orders sparks further cost cutting
A decline in orders in the first nine months of the year prompts ABB to announce the acceleration of its plan to cut costs and 12,000 jobs. Orders decreased 8 percent to $17.9 billion.

Oct. 11, 2001: ABB tops sustainability index for third year in a row
ABB is ranked number one in corporate sustainability by the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI), topping the electric components and equipment industry group for the third year in a row.

Aug. 23, 2001: ABB buys Mexican drilling and production equipment company
ABB acquires Mexican company FIP S.A. from Walworth de Mexico S.A. FIP is a supplier of pressure-containing equipment such as wellheads and gate valves used in oil and gas wells, with 450 employees. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

July 24, 2001: ABB revises outlook, initiates cost reduction program
ABB says it will cut 12,000 jobs – eight percent of its workforce – over the next 18 months to counter difficult market conditions. Revenues were flat in the first half of 2001 at $11 billion, although they rose 7 percent in local currencies. Earnings before interest and taxes were down 21 percent to $626 million compared with the first half of 2000.

April 9, 2001: ABB launches bid to acquire Entrelec
ABB offers about 310 million euros for Entrelec, a Lyon, France-based supplier of industrial automation and control products. The acquisition is aimed at expanding ABB’s automation technology product range and reinforcing its position in key European and American markets.

April 6, 2001: ABB lists shares on the New York Stock Exchange
ABB says the move is aimed at supporting the company’s growth strategy. ABB's US operations already employ more than 16,000 people in 40 states.

March 2001: Share buyback
ABB launches a program to buy back six million shares for cancellation.

March 20, 2001: ABB shareholders approve share split
At the annual general meeting of ABB Ltd in Zurich, Switzerland, shareholders approve a 4-to-1 share split to improve the liquidity and marketability of the company’s shares and the buyback of 2 percent of ABB’s total share capital. The share split takes effect on May 7.

Jan. 30, 2001: ABB buys Eutech in the UK
ABB buys Eutech Engineering Solutions Ltd, the international engineering consultancy subsidiary of the ICI Group of the UK. Financial details were not disclosed. Eutech supplies a range of consulting services in manufacturing operations and engineering, including project implementation and management, to more than 150 chemicals, petrochemicals and pharmaceuticals customers worldwide. ABB’s strength in these areas is given a major boost.

Jan. 11, 2001: ABB reorganizes around customers
ABB becomes the first industrial company to organize around customers rather than technologies, to boost growth in a business environment of globalization, deregulation, consolidation and eBusiness. The four end-user divisions are Utilities, Process Industries, Manufacturing and Consumer Industries, and Oil, Gas and Petrochemicals. The two channel partner divisions, Power Technology Products and Automation Technology Products, cover all generic product needs within the ABB Group. Jörgen Centerman took over as CEO on Jan. 1. A new business area, New Ventures Ltd., was created to act as an incubator for new businesses.

Dec. 1, 2000: ABB signs cooperation agreement with North Korea
ABB signs a cooperation agreement with North Korea aimed at improving the performance of the country’s electricity transmission network and basic industries. ABB opens an office in the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, in June 2001.

Nov. 30, 2000: ABB opens Industrial IT and automation center in Singapore
ABB opens an information technology and automation center in Singapore, part of its strategy to expand its position in a large and fast-growing market for industrial automation technologies.

Oct. 5, 2000: ABB forms Industrial IT software joint venture with US partner
ABB agrees to form a joint venture with US software developer SKYVA International, a leading supplier of enabling software for collaborative commerce. ABB pays $130 million for a 53-percent stake in the venture. SKYVA develops Java-based software for so-called collaborative commerce – where systems link the business processes of suppliers, manufacturers and customers.

Sept. 12, 2000: ABB invests $100 million in China’s Sinopec Corp.
ABB invests $100 million in Sinopec Corp., Asia’s largest refiner, through an Initial Public Offering (IPO).

June 8, 2000: ABB unveils new wind power technology
Unveils a wind power technology that makes wind farms more competitive with conventional large power plants. The WindformerTM increases power output by up to 20 percent and cuts lifetime maintenance costs in half.

June 8, 2000: ABB sees billion-dollar growth opportunity in alternative energy
ABB outlines strategy for alternative energy solutions at a press conference in London, saying it expects its share of the business to reach $1 billion within five years.

March 27, 2000: ABB and partners launch e-commerce venture
ABB Ltd. and Investor AB launch b-business partners, a European-based company with a capital base of more than 1 billion euros. The business will invest in and develop business-to-business eCommerce (e-B2B) companies across Europe, and aims to forge closer links between “new economy” and traditional enterprises.

March 16, 2000: ABB Ltd holds first Annual General Meeting
ABB holds its first annual general meeting of shareholders since the creation of the single-class ABB Ltd share. The meeting was held at two locations in Wettingen, Switzerland, and one in Västerås, Sweden. Shareholders in the three locations were linked via satellite television and an electronic voting system. It was the world’s first cross-border shareholders meeting using a real-time wireless electronic voting system.

Dec. 29, 1999: ABB to sell nuclear business to BNFL
ABB says it will sell its nuclear power businesses to UK-based BNFL for about $485 million. ABB's main nuclear operations are in the US, Sweden, France, and Germany. Following the divestment of its nuclear business, ABB's remaining power generation business will focus on renewable energy and distributed power. The transaction is completed on May 2, 2000.

March 23, 1999: ABB and Alstom create world leader in power generation
ABB and France-based Alstom announce the merger of their power generation businesses in a 50-50 joint company, ABB Alstom Power. The company employs about 54,000 people in more than 100 countries. The new company was formed to better respond to the changes and opportunities created by privatization and deregulation, thanks to the complementary product ranges, geographic scope and R&D capabilities of its parent companies. The transaction is completed on May 11, 2000.

Feb. 4, 1999: ABB creates new single share
The Boards of Directors of ABB Asea Brown Boveri Ltd, ABB AG of Switzerland and ABB AB of Sweden unanimously approve a plan to create a unified, single-class ABB share. It marked the final step in fully integrating ABB, formed in 1988. The single-class share - one share, one vote - replaced the four classes of shares of ABB AB (formerly ASEA) and ABB AG (formerly Brown Boveri), with their varying voting rights and nominal values. Trading began June 28, 1999, in Zurich, Stockholm, London and Frankfurt.

Jan. 21, 1999: ABB acquires energy-related financial services company in the US
ABB acquires Energy Capital Partners, a US-based finance company servicing the North American energy services market. Renamed ABB Energy Capital LLC, the Boston, Massachusetts-based company provides financing for energy service companies, with a focus on improving energy efficiency for industrial, utility and public sector customers. Its hallmark product is performance-based project financing, in which payment is linked to the achievement of pre-set efficiency improvement targets.

Jan. 20, 1999: ABB divests its share of 50-50 rail joint venture Adtranz to DaimlerChrysler
DaimlerChrysler agrees to buy ABB's share of their 50-50 rail joint venture Adtranz for $472 million.

Oct. 14, 1998: ABB acquires all shares of Elsag Bailey, aims to boost automation business
ABB acquires Netherlands-based Elsag Bailey Process Automation N.V. for about $2.1 billion, including debt of about $600 million, making ABB a world leader in the global automation market. Elsag Bailey is a leading provider of automation systems, process instrumentation, analytical measurement products, and professional services. The company delivers control products and systems, instrumentation and analytical devices to utilities, pulp and paper, metals, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, oil and gas, food and beverage customers.

June 17, 1998: ABB acquires Alfa Laval Automation
ABB agrees to acquire Sweden-based Alfa Laval’s Automation unit. Alfa Laval Automation is one of Europe’s five largest suppliers of process control systems and automation equipment. The unit employs 1,200 people in 14 countries.

Feb. 25, 1998: ABB launches world’s first high-voltage generator
Called the Powerformer, it is billed as the first generator to supply electricity directly to the high-voltage network without the need for transformers. The Powerformer represents the first breakthrough innovation in generator technology in over a century. It can reduce overall power plant life cycle costs by up to 30 percent.

ABB announces plants to accelerate ABB’s expansion in Asia and improve the productivity of its Western operations. ABB say it will cut some 10,000 jobs in Western Europe and the US and take a restructuring charge of $850 million. ABB signs an agreement with Industri Kapital to sell ABB’s wire rod and winding wire businesses in Sweden and Germany.

Demand in emerging markets continues to drive growth. Employment in these countries rises by 10,000, while selective downsizing continues in Western Europe and North America. ABB completes the merger at the Board level by integrating its parent companies' Boards into the ABB Group Board. Göran Lindahl is named ABB CEO, effective Jan. 1, 1997, succeeding Percy Barnevik, who becomes non-executive Chairman of the ABB Board of Directors.

ABB continues to expand its presence in Asia and Central and Eastern Europe through internal growth, acquisitions and majority joint ventures. ABB announces the merger of its Transportation segment into a 50-50 joint venture with Daimler-Benz AG of Germany, effective Jan. 1, 1996. ABB selected as Europe's best company in technology and innovation management.

ABB emerges from a two-year consolidation phase. In Western Europe and North America, the focus is on the fast-growing service and retrofit markets, while demand for new infrastructure drives growth in emerging markets. In Asia, ABB has 30,000 employees and 100 plants, engineering, service and marketing centers.

The Group continues its strategy of targeted expansion in Europe (including the former Soviet Union), the Americas, and Asia Pacific. ABB introduces the GT24/GT26 gas turbine technology opening new opportunities on the global market for high-efficiency, low-emission turbines.

Recession management is accelerated and total employment reduced by 14,000. Employment in Central and Eastern Europe rises to 20,000 people in 30 companies. In Asia, more than 20 new manufacturing and service units are created through joint ventures, acquisitions, and greenfield investments.

Investments continue in Central and Eastern Europe, where ABB employs about 10,000 people by year end. Extensive restructuring positions the company to meet the demands of recession economies in North America and parts of Europe. Research & Development spending increases by 20 percent

ABB begins an aggressive program of expansion in Central and Eastern Europe and prepares for expansion into Asia. The rate of acquisition slows in the US and Western Europe, where a period of consolidation and restructuring begins.

In December, ABB finalizes the purchase of the worldwide power transmission and distribution operations of Westinghouse Electric Corp. of the US. Also in December, ABB announces an agreement to buy Stamford, Ct.-based Combustion Engineering Group. In total, ABB purchases about 40 companies in 1989.

ABB begins operations on Jan. 5, 1988. In the first year, some 15 acquisitions are made, among them the environmental control group Fläkt AB of Sweden, the contracting group Sadelmi/Cogepi, Italy, and railway manufacturer Scandia-Randers A/S of Denmark.

ASEA AB of Västerås, Sweden, and BBC Brown Boveri Ltd of Baden, Switzerland, announces plans in August to merge their operations to form ABB Asea Brown Boveri Ltd, based in Zurich, Switzerland. Each parent company is to hold 50 percent of the new company.

Last edited 2010-10-01
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