ABB is leaving the repair shop after transitional year - CEO

John Revill, Oliver Hirt for Reuters:  Swiss engineering group ABB (ABBN.S) aims to take advantage of improving market conditions and its own transformation into a simpler company this year after navigating a “transitional” 2017, Chief Executive Ulrich Spiesshofer told Reuters.

The company, which makes products ranging from industrial robots to power grids, has fought off an activist investor who wanted to break it up as well as a sustained downturn in markets like mining and oil and gas.

It has responded by cutting costs, simplifying its structure, and ditching fringe businesses. Profitability declined slightly in the first nine months of 2017 while sales rose 2 percent, and its stock reached a nine-year high.

“The last couple of years ABB was in the repair shop and now we are coming out. With political stability and digitalisation we have positive conditions and a better platform to participate in the upturn,” Spiesshofer said in an interview at the company’s Zurich headquarters.  See full Q&A:

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Thomas R. Cutler: Leading Manufacturing Journalist Worldwide

Thomas R. Cutler: Leading Manufacturing Journalist Worldwide

Cutler has authored more than 7000 articles for a wide range of manufacturing periodicals, industrial publications, and business journals including most of the leading monthly trade publications.