ABB Is `Absolutely' Open to Making Acquisitions, CEO Says

  • Maker of power grids had put acquisitions on hold last year
  • Internal changes were made so ``homework'' is now done: CEO

ABB Ltd. Chief Executive Officer Ulrich Spiesshofer said the maker of power grids and robots is now open to making acquisitions following a phase of internal restructuring.

“Yes, absolutely,” the CEO said in an interview Thursday when asked whether ABB would consider buying other businesses. “We said last year we would put a hold on acquisitions because we had so many internal things going on. Our homework is now done.”

The CEO, who may come under pressure from activist shareholder Cevian Capital AB, has pledged to cut costs and increase efficiency to try to counter weakness in demand from clients in China and the oil and mining industries. He made management changes last year and began a strategic review of ABB’s power-grids division, which he has said is “on track.” The company plans to issue a report on the division on Oct. 4.

“We are ready and when the time is right we will talk about” acquisitions, Spiesshofer said following Thursday’s shareholders meeting. Growth will also come from partnerships, he said.

ABB on Wednesday reported quarterly profit that fell less than expected after orders from power utilities helped counter a slowdown in some emerging markets and energy industries.

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