The world’s largest maker of power grids, Switzerland’s ABB Ltd., said the intensifying standoff between Greece and its debtors is hurting the European economy as companies hold back investments.
“A relatively small country is currently paralyzing decision making in Europe,” Chief Executive Officer Ulrich Spiesshofer said at a conference in Bern on Monday, adding that the crisis is threatening jobs and slowing down economic growth.
Many of ABB’s clients are rattled by the current situation as the Greek crisis is adding to a slowdown in China and uncertainty about the economy in the U.S. and U.K., the CEO said. Zurich-based ABB is also a major maker of industrial robots, used by a wide range of companies including carmakers and manufacturers, and employs about 140,000 people worldwide.
Greece on Monday shut its banks and imposed capital controls to avert the collapse of its financial system, heightening the risk it will be forced out of the euro and prompting European stocks and Greek bonds to tumble. People rushed to line up at ATMs and gas stations after the breakdown of aid talks late Friday and a European Central Bank decision to freeze its lifeline to Greek banks.
ABB shares dropped as much as 3 percent on Monday, valuing the company at about 46 billion francs ($49 billion). Before today, the stock had dropped 4.1 percent since the start of the day, while the benchmark Swiss Market Index was little changed.