ABB chief's integration call

ABB will step up efforts to integrate the various elements of its business, particularly recent acquisitions such as PV inverter giant Power-One, says new chief executive Ulrich Spiesshofer.

The call for better orchestration between ABB’s divisions came as Spiesshofer gave an optimistic – if steady-as-she-goes – assessment of the business of which he took command from Joe Hogan last month.

Net profit rose 10% to $835m in the third quarter, while revenues were up 8% to $10.5bn at the Swiss-Swedish engineering giant.

Of ABB’s five divisions, Power Systems, under which much of its renewables activity is lumped, felt the stiffest headwinds, as a shuffling of strategic priorities and broader economic uncertainties cut into the large orders – those worth more than $15m – coming in.

But Spiesshofer says the “long-term growth drivers are fully intact” for ABB, one of the world’s most important – if often behind-the-scenes – renewables companies, with huge direct exposure to the wind and solar sectors, as well as the transmission sector upon which their future relies.

Swedish-listed shares of ABB were up nearly 4% to SKr162.90 ($25.63) at midday.

Earlier this year ABB splashed out $1bn to buy US-base Power-One, SMA Solar’s closest rival in the PV inverter market. And the company recently announced plans to “step up” its focus on integrating recent acquisitions.

ABB this week nabbed another order from TenneT to build a subsea transmission link from Vattenfall’s 288MW Sandbank offshore wind project to the SylWin Alpha converter station, its fifth such order from TenneT in Germany.

A pioneer in the high-voltage direct current game, ABB is expected to reap a windfall in the decades ahead should the global offshore wind sector progress as hoped.