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ABB CEO hails ‘new era’ after selling majority of its power grids unit to Hitachi


ABB Chief Executive Ulrich Spiesshofer said his Swiss engineering group will now focus squarely on digital industries after selling an 80 percent stake in its power grids business to Japanese firm Hitachi on Monday.

The acquisition valued this unit at $11 billion and allows ABB to return the proceeds to shareholders. ABB and Spiesshofer had originally decided to keep the unit after a review two years ago and recent reports suggested that the chief executive was bowing to pressure from an activist investor to sell.

However, Spiesshofer told’s Joumanna Bercetche Monday that he had no regrets about the delay.

“It was the right decision, as you can see in the valuation, to hang onto it. Over the last couple of years we have strengthened the business, we have brought it back to good profitability, to market leading profitability,” he said.

Hitachi is set to become one of the largest players in the power grids industry and ABB will now look to focus on other areas of its business, such as automation and industrial robots.

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