Country network, Mitsubishi, Hitachi, ABB Electric network business Hanabato like house?
[Cable Network News] According to Reuters news, ABB is negotiating with Hitachi and Mitsubishi Power to sell all or part of its grid business. At the same time, the Swiss company has also started negotiations with China's State Grid. CEO Shi Bifu will meet with China State Grid Corporation executives during his visit to China this week.
According to sources, ABB hopes to announce an agreement next weekend.
ABB estimates its business value is about $15 billion, although analysts estimate it could be around $11 billion, and its earnings are likely to be returned to shareholders through new stock buybacks and used to accelerate the acquisition of ABB's business automation division.
As of press time, ABB declined to comment.
It is reported that ABB launched a grid business sales process last month, including power transformers and substation manufacturing for long-distance transmission. The decision to sell the grid business represented a shift in Shi Bifu, who decided to retain the grid business two years ago, although some shareholders demanded a sale.
Cevian Capital, ABB's second largest shareholder, is gaining strength in its request to spin off the grid business, while other major shareholders are still opposed to the sale.
The performance of the grid has improved over the past two years, but ABB's business margins are still the lowest, including industrial robots and drives used in the factory. Its weak performance has weighed ABB's share price and increased the pressure on Spieford, which has been leading the company since 2013.
Spike last month promised to reinvigorate ABB’s earnings to reverse its share price plunging, which hit a low in the past two years after the group’s third-quarter results.
Analysts said that the sale of the grid business will enable ABB to focus on more profitable industrial automation.
A source said that while ABB is exploring the sale of its grid business to Hitachi or Mitsubishi, it may be more inclined to sell it to China's national grid, although this may be opposed by US and European regulators.
Another source said that if Hitachi is successful, it may seek to introduce financial investors to help close the deal.
ABB's grid business has 36,000 employees and last year's sales reached $10.4 billion. Its operating margin for the third quarter of this year was 10.0%, down 60 basis points from the same period last year, and was only within the target range of 10% to 14%.
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