Steady top line growth in a mixed market

  • Orders and revenues increased1, orders steady to higher in all regions
  • Operational EBITDA2 and margin lower vs Q2 2011, margin up 1% point vs Q1 2012
  • Thomas & Betts acquisition completed, solid first contribution to operational EBITDA
  • Significant foreign exchange translation negatively impacts top line and earnings
Zurich, Switzerland, July 26, 2012 - ABB reported higher orders and revenues in the second quarter of 2012 despite short-term macroeconomic volatility as customers in almost all regions continued to invest in power grid upgrades and improved industrial productivity.

Orders received grew 9 percent (6 percent organic3) to $10.1 billion while revenues rose to $9.7 billion, representing a 6 percent increase (3 percent organic). Utilities continued to invest in transmission grids, while industrial customers, especially in oil and gas, increased spending to secure reliable power and improve productivity.

Operational EBITDA amounted to $1.5 billion, a 5 percent decrease compared to the same quarter in 2011 (-9 percent organic). The operational EBITDA margin was 15.1 percent versus 16.0 percent the previous year. Cost savings of about $280 million offset the impact of lower prices and project margin slippages, while growth investments in selling and R&D supported volume increases. An unfavorable business mix also impacted the operational EBITDA margin, while significant differences in foreign exchange rates compared with the second quarter of 2011 reduced our US-dollar reported revenues by approximately $600 million and operational EBITDA by approximately $100 million.

Cash flow from operations was approximately $300 million lower than Q2 last year. Total divisional cash from operations increased by $40 million. Group cash flow reflects lower cash generation from hedging of corporate exposures as a result of the strengthening US dollar.

Net income amounted to $656 million, including the negative impact of the strengthening US dollar and transaction and amortization-related charges4 of approximately $100 million related to the acquisition of US low voltage product manufacturer Thomas & Betts, which was completed on May 16 of this year.

“These results clearly show how our balanced business and regional scope, together with good execution on cost, allow us to produce solid results even in a mixed market,” said Joe Hogan, ABB’s CEO. “We’re also satisfied to see operational profitability improve compared to the first quarter. The macroeconomic view remains uncertain, but the positive developments we’ve seen in China, the continued strength of the US market and our resilience in Europe make us more confident about the short-term outlook than we were three months ago.”

1 Management discussion of orders and revenues focuses on local currency changes. U.S. dollar changes are reported in results tables
2 See reconciliation of Operational EBITDA in Note 13 to the Interim Consolidated Financial Information (unaudited)
3 Organic changes exclude the acquisition of Thomas & Betts in mid-May 2012
4 Includes inventory step-up


2012 Q2 key figures
Q2 12
Q2 11
Change
$ millions unless
otherwise indicated
US$
Local
Orders
10'052
9'867
2%
9%
Order backlog (end June)
29'070
29'983
-3%
6%
Revenues
9'663
9'680
0%
6%
EBIT
1'001
1'337
-25%
as % of revenues
10.4%
13.8%
Operational EBITDA
1'471
1'547
-5%
as % of operational revenues
15.1%
16.0%
Net income attributable
to ABB
656
893
-27%
Basic net income per share ($)
0.29
0.39
Cash flow from operating activities
595
891
-33%

Summary of Q2 2012 results


Orders received and revenues
Macroeconomic uncertainties continued to impact the timing of large power investments in most regions during the second quarter. Nevertheless, utility customers continued to invest in selected projects to strengthen grid reliability and increase capacity. Oil and gas customers also invested in power equipment to secure reliable power supplies for production and processing. As a result, orders in the power divisions were steady to higher in most key markets, such as the US, Brazil, China, and India. Power orders were steady in Europe.

On the automation side, the need for energy-efficient solutions and higher productivity and quality drove order growth across several businesses and regions. The acquisition of Thomas & Betts significantly expanded ABB’s access to the key North American automation market and supported strong automation order growth in the region. The acquisition had no material impact on automation orders in other regions. North American automation orders also increased on an organic basis. Orders for Low Voltage Products in China rebounded in the quarter. Automation orders increased in Europe as demand in countries like the UK, Norway and in eastern Europe more than offset lower industrial activity in southern Europe. Automation orders declined in Germany compared to the same quarter in 2011 when a large order was won for rail equipment.

Base orders (below $15 million) increased 4 percent (1 percent organic). Large orders (above $15 million) increased 43 percent in the quarter and represented 15 percent of total orders compared to 12 percent in the year-earlier period.

The order backlog at the end of June 2012 amounted to $29 billion, a local-currency increase of 6 percent compared to the year-earlier period and an increase of 1 percent versus the end of the first quarter of 2012.

Revenues in the power divisions were flat compared to the same quarter a year ago, mainly reflecting the variable timing of large projects being executed out of the backlog. Revenues were higher in both Discrete Automation and Motion and in Process Automation, supported by the backlog, and were slightly lower in Low Voltage Products on an organic basis. Service revenues outgrew total revenues and were 11 percent higher in the quarter, amounting to 16 percent of total revenues, unchanged versus the same quarter a year earlier. Currency translation effects reduced reported US-dollar revenues by approximately $600 million in the quarter compared to the same quarter in 2011.

Earnings and net income
Operational EBITDA in the second quarter of 2012 amounted to $1.5 billion, a decline of 5 percent over the year-earlier period. Included in operational EBITDA is a contribution of approximately $60 million from Thomas & Betts. The decline was mainly due to negative foreign exchange translation impacts of approximately $100 million and an unfavorable business mix; cost savings effectively offset pricing pressure and net project margin slippages in the Power Systems division, while higher investments in sales and R&D helped generate offsetting volume gains.

Cost savings of approximately $280 million were achieved in the quarter, of which roughly 50 percent came from global sourcing initiatives, 45 percent from operational excellence projects and about 5 percent from footprint changes. Costs associated with the savings measures in the quarter amounted to approximately $15 million. For the first half of the year, savings reached approximately $540 million on associated costs of approximately $35 million.

Net income for the quarter decreased 27 percent to $656 million and resulted in basic earnings per share of $0.29 compared to $0.39 in the year-earlier period. Most of the difference results from the strengthening of the US dollar and acquisition-related expenses.

Balance sheet and cash flow
Net debt at the end of the second quarter was $4 billion compared to a net cash position at the end of the previous quarter of $1.4 billion. The change primarily reflects the dividend payment in May of approximately $1.6 billion as well as the Thomas & Betts acquisition.

Cash from operating activities decreased compared to the same quarter of 2011, as higher aggregate cash from the operating divisions was more than offset by significant foreign exchange movements on derivatives used to manage Corporate balance sheet exposures.

In May of 2012, ABB issued US-dollar bonds totaling $2.5 billion—its largest ever bond offering—with favorable rates on 5-, 10- and 30-year maturities.

Acquisitions
During the second quarter, ABB completed the acquisition of US-based Thomas & Betts, a North American leader in low voltage products, first announced in January 2012. Thomas & Betts contributed revenues of approximately $310 million and operational EBITDA of approximately $60 million to ABB’s second quarter results.

Outlook
Uncertainty around the short-term growth prospects for Europe, the emerging markets and the US continues to challenge the company’s ability to reliably forecast its business performance over the next several months. At the same time, the second quarter results provided several reasons to be more optimistic, such as the stability in operational EBITDA margins in the Power Products division over the past three quarters in the face of significant competitive challenges; the resilience of orders in Europe despite ongoing economic weakness in southern Europe; higher orders in key power and automation businesses in China (including construction); sustained order growth across the portfolio in the US; continued significant investments in power transmission around the world; and further indications that price pressure on new power orders is easing.

The longer-term outlook in ABB’s major end markets remains favorable, driven by megatrends such as the need for greater resource efficiency, increasing urbanization in the emerging markets, and the growing demand for more, and more efficient and reliable, power delivery.

Therefore, management is cautiously optimistic that the business environment over the remainder of 2012 will support continued growth and profitability in line with its 2011-2015 targets, provided that there is no further deterioration in the macroeconomic environment. Management will nevertheless continue to focus on reducing costs and ensuring that investments in growth are generating returns in line with our longer-term targets.


Divisional performance Q2 2012

Power Products
Q2 12
Q2 11
Change
$ millions unless
otherwise indicated
US$
Local
Orders
2'791
2'810
-1%
5%
Order backlog
(end June)
8'692
8'955
-3%
5%
Revenues
2'610
2'783
-6%
0%
EBIT
302
417
-28%
as % of revenues
11.6%
15.0%
Operational EBITDA
387
454
-15%
as % of operational revenues
14.7%
16.5%
Cash flow from operating activities
224
158
42%

Orders increased in the quarter driven by growth in emerging markets. Power distribution demand was stable while the transmission sector is seeing selective investments by utilities. Macroeconomic uncertainties continue to impact large power investments in most regions. Orders were stable in Europe and Asia and grew in the Americas and the Middle East and Africa.

Revenues were at the same high level as the second quarter last year, mainly due to the timing of order execution from the backlog. Service revenues increased in the quarter.

The lower operational EBITDA and operational EBITDA margin in the quarter were due to the execution of lower margin order backlog, reflecting the pricing environment in previous quarters, and a less favorable geographic and product mix. Cost saving initiatives partially mitigated this impact.

Power Systems
Q2 12
Q2 11
Change
$ millions unless
otherwise indicated
US$
Local
Orders
1'890
1'654
14%
27%
Order backlog
(end June)
11'571
11'310
2%
14%
Revenues
1'872
2'025
-8%
1%
EBIT
37
194
-81%
as % of revenues
2.0%
9.6%
Operational EBITDA
119
189
-37%
as % of operational revenues
6.2%
9.4%
Cash flow from operating activities
90
112
-20%

Order growth in the second quarter was driven mainly by utility investments in transmission infrastructure and grid enhancement. Both base and large orders increased in the quarter, led by substations and grid system solutions.

Orders increased in all major regions. The US, Canada and Brazil contributed to double-digit growth in the Americas. Large orders in Iraq to build transmission capacity contributed to growth in the Middle East and Africa. India and Australia led the growth in Asia, while order intake in Europe was driven mainly by grid upgrades.

Revenues were stable compared to the second quarter of 2011 and mainly reflect the timing of project execution from the order backlog.

Operational EBITDA and operational EBITDA margin declined compared with the same quarter a year earlier, resulting from the execution of lower margin orders in the backlog, higher selling and R&D expenses and costs on a small number of projects in different businesses.

Discrete Automation and Motion
Q2 12
Q2 11
Change
$ millions unless
otherwise indicated
US$
Local
Orders
2'428
2'615
-7%
-2%
Order backlog
(end June)
4'567
4'595
-1%
8%
Revenues
2'368
2'248
5%
11%
EBIT
382
349
9%
as % of revenues
16.1%
15.5%
Operational EBITDA
446
419
6%
as % of operational revenues
18.8%
18.7%
Cash flow from operating activities
332
303
10%

Orders declined in the quarter compared to the strong second quarter a year earlier, mainly reflecting lower demand from the renewable energy and rail sectors as well as reduced demand in China and southern Europe. Orders continued to grow in North America, including a double-digit increase in orders for ABB’s low-voltage drives. North American order growth benefited from the distribution channels of Baldor Electric, in line with the growth synergies expected when Baldor was acquired at the beginning of 2011.

Revenues increased on solid execution of the strong order backlog in all businesses, led by robotics and power electronics and medium-voltage drives.

Operational EBITDA rose on the increase in revenues and the operational EBITDA margin was slightly higher compared to the same quarter in 2011 despite difficult market conditions.

Low Voltage Products
Q2 12
Q2 11
Change
$ millions unless
otherwise indicated
US$
Local
Orders
1'655
1'417
17%
23%
Order backlog
(end June)
1'082
1'141
-5%
2%
Revenues
1'596
1'397
14%
21%
EBIT
139
234
-41%
as % of revenues
8.7%
16.8%
Operational EBITDA
286
268
-7%
as % of operational revenues
17.9%
19.2%
Cash flow from operating activities
161
67
140%

Order growth in the quarter was driven by the contribution from the acquisition of Thomas & Betts, a North American leader in low-voltage products, which was completed in mid-May 2012. On an organic basis, orders were steady (up 1 percent), with increases in Asia and some countries in northern Europe compensating lower orders in southern Europe.

Organic revenues declined 2 percent in the quarter, reflecting the weaker demand environment in most businesses compared to the year-earlier period. Low-voltage systems revenues continued to grow on execution of the strong order backlog.

Organic operational EBITDA and operational EBITDA margin declined year-on-year, reflecting both an increase in lower margin systems sales, as well as lower volumes of certain higher-margin products in China. However, margins rebounded strongly from the first quarter of 2012.

Thomas & Betts contributed revenues of approximately $310 million and operational EBITDA of approximately $60 million during the quarter.

Process Automation
Q2 12
Q2 11
Change
$ millions unless
otherwise indicated
US$
Local
Orders
2'247
2'340
-4%
3%
Order backlog
(end June)
6'417
6'829
-6%
4%
Revenues
2'052
2'095
-2%
5%
EBIT
232
223
4%
as % of revenues
11.3%
10.6%
Operational EBITDA
268
249
8%
as % of operational revenues
13.1%
11.8%
Cash flow from operating activities
95
222
-57%

Order growth in the second quarter was driven by strong large orders, mainly in oil and gas and the marine sector, including harbor cranes. Orders were also higher in measurement products but declined in pulp and paper, metals and turbochargers. Total service orders were flat in the quarter as the ongoing reduction in full service contracts and a decline in turbocharging services in the marine sector was offset by lifecycle service orders.

Regionally, order growth was driven by the Middle East and Africa and Europe on higher demand from the oil, gas and petrochemicals as well as marine and cranes sectors. Orders were also up double digits in North America, while South America saw fewer large investments compared to last year. Orders declined in Asia as the high level of marine orders in South Korea was offset by lower demand in China, mainly in the metals business.

The revenue increase reflects execution of the stronger order backlog—especially in the marine, pulp and paper and oil and gas businesses—as well as the recent growth in service orders.

Operational EBITDA and operational EBITDA margin increased reflecting strong project execution, tight cost control, and higher margins in lifecycle services and measurement products.

More information
The 2012 Q2 results press release is available from July 26, 2012, on the ABB News Center at www.abb.com/news and on the Investor Relations homepage at www.abb.com/investorrelations, where a presentation for investors will also be published.
A video from Chief Executive Officer Joe Hogan on ABB's second-quarter 2012 results will be available today at www.youtube.com/abb.
ABB will host a media conference call starting at 10:00 a.m. Central European Time (CET). U.K. callers should dial +44 203 059 58 62. From Sweden, +46 8 5051 00 31, from U.S. (toll-free) +1 866 291 41 66, and from the rest of Europe, +41 91 610 56 00. Lines will be open 15 minutes before the start of the conference. Audio playback of the call will start one hour after the call ends and will be available for 48 hours: Playback numbers: +44 20 7108 6233 (U.K.), +41 91 612 4330 (rest of Europe) or +1 866 416 2558 (U.S./Canada). The code is 15380, followed by the # key. The recorded session will also be available as a podcast one hour after the end of the conference call and can be downloaded from www.abb.com/news.
A conference call for analysts and investors is scheduled to begin today at 3:00 p.m. CET (2:00 p.m. in the UK, 9:00 a.m. EDT). Callers should dial +1 866 291 4166 from the U.S./Canada (toll-free), +44 203 059 5862 from the U.K., +46 85 051 0031 from Sweden, or +41 91 610 56 00 from the rest of the world. Callers are requested to phone in 15 minutes before the start of the call. The recorded session will be available as a podcast one hour after the end of the conference call and can be downloaded from our website. You will find the link to access the podcast at www.abb.com.

Investor calendar 2012
ABB Capital Markets Day 2012Sept. 12, 2012
Q3 2012 resultsOct. 25, 2012

ABB (www.abb.com) 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 145,000 people.

Zurich, July 26, 2012
Joe Hogan, CEO

Important notice about forward-looking information
This press release includes forward-looking information and statements as well as other statements concerning the outlook for our business. These statements are based on current expectations, estimates and projections about the factors that may affect our future performance, including global economic conditions, the economic conditions of the regions and industries that are major markets for ABB Ltd. These expectations, estimates and projections are generally identifiable by statements containing words such as “expects,” “believes,” “estimates,” “targets,” “plans” or similar expressions. However, there are many risks and uncertainties, many of which are beyond our control, that could cause our actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking information and statements made in this press release and which could affect our ability to achieve any or all of our stated targets. The important factors that could cause such differences include, among others, business risks associated with the volatile global economic environment and political conditions, costs associated with compliance activities, raw materials availability and prices, market acceptance of new products and services, changes in governmental regulations and currency exchange rates and such other factors as may be discussed from time to time in ABB Ltd’s filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, including its Annual Reports on Form 20-F. Although ABB Ltd believes that its expectations reflected in any such forward-looking statement are based upon reasonable assumptions, it can give no assurance that those expectations will be achieved.


You can download/view the PDF format of this press release, the financial statements (only available in English) and the Notes to the Interim Consolidated Financial Information (financial statement notes) also only available in English. Appendices are not included in this Web page.



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