ABB Profits Fall 12% in 2010

Expects improved demand in both emerging and mature markets in 2011.

Engineering giant ABB on Feb. 17 said its 2010 net profit fell to $2.56 billion, a 12% decrease. However the company insisted this year will be much better while announcing large cost cuts.

Sales slipped 1% to $31.6 billion in 2010.

The group issued an upbeat forecast for 2011, expecting improved demand in both emerging and mature markets. "We see plenty of growth opportunities as we head into 2011 in both the short-term industry-driven businesses as well as later in the year when we expect utility spending on power equipment to begin a recovery," said CEO Joe Hogan.

"Long-term trends for increased energy efficiency and flexible, more reliable power infrastructure remain very strong. ABB will seize these opportunities with a leaner cost base, an enhanced product portfolio and a more customer-focused organization," Hogan added, announcing plans to cut costs by more than $1 billion this year.

Emerging markets are set to be "significant drivers of growth" as they build up their electrical grids and expand industrial production in 2011.

"Demand in mature markets is also expected to improve," the company said, as power production investment picks up after a 2-year slowdown.

Industrial customers in mature economies are expected to upgrade their manufacturing assets this year, while construction of 'intelligent' -- more environmentally friendly -- buildings could provide greater demand for ABB's automation services.

A strong pick up in orders was seen in the fourth quarter, with a jump of 17% to $8.75 billion compared to the same period in 2009. Growth was largely driven by Europe, up 32%, and the Americas, which rose 25%.

For the full year, orders improved 6% to $32.7 billion. Notably, ABB's biggest market Europe, posted growth of 15% at $13.8 billion.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2011

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