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ABB meets the press...

March 20, 2007
After the keynotes, all of us little presslings trooped next door to hear the ABB senior staff talk about the message they want us to present to our readership. First up was Dinesh Paliwal. Dinesh is Chairman and CEO of ABB North America, and he wears another hat too, that of President, Global Markets and Technology for ABB Ltd. Dinesh is the sparkplug that has fired the ABB resurgence in process automation over the past three years. As he was last year, Dinesh was all smiles. He was happy to ...
After the keynotes, all of us little presslings trooped next door to hear the ABB senior staff talk about the message they want us to present to our readership. First up was Dinesh Paliwal. Dinesh is Chairman and CEO of ABB North America, and he wears another hat too, that of President, Global Markets and Technology for ABB Ltd. Dinesh is the sparkplug that has fired the ABB resurgence in process automation over the past three years. As he was last year, Dinesh was all smiles. He was happy to report another record breaking year, with Group revenues of $24.4 billion on orders of $28.4 billion. Doing the math, that's a nice backlog to have, isn't it? "Unusually high growth," was how Paliwal put it. He described the three ages of ABB: 1988-94, the post-merger acquisition drive; 1995-2000, the 'new economy' related portfolio; followed by 2001-2006: Crisis and turnaround. He noted that even when they weren't making any money, ABB continued to have a huge commitment to R&D. Dinesh then showed the scorecard for 2005 and 2006, but unfortunately he didn't leave it up on the screen long enough for me to copy it down. Gee, do you think he did that on purpose? Anyway, what I did get down was this: 05 06 Change (billions) Orders 23.194 28.401 22% Revenue 22.012 24.412 10% There was other nifty info, too, like profit and such. Paliwal again pointed to the $1.1 billion R&D budget, and noted that it did not include collaborations with other companies or government labs. He also noted that ABB's lab in India is now their most productive lab. "We have," he crowed, "some wonderful things coming out of India, and fast!" He showed a slide that noted that ABB didn't make any money in North America from 1988 to 2004. It also showed healthy profits for 2005 and 2006. He said that 2007 was looking good, too. Order volume, he noted, was: 2004 +20% 2005 +11% 2006 +20% and since the business didn't grow in North America at that rate last year, "we're gaining share," he concluded. "We have eight consecutive quarters of double digit growth! And the market is filled with opportunity," he said. He went on, "I believe that we have hit the 'sweet spot' for our products and that we are in the global sweet spot for the future," Paliwal proclaimed. There was, he said: driving need for energy efficiency offshoring for production improvement (except in North America, where ABB is 'inshoring.' positive momentum increased power demand US Energy Policy Act is stimulating long term technology investiment record oil demand and windpower generating dramatic growth in Full Service demand due to looming retirement crisis "We see this Full Service market as $30-$40 billion market," he said. And, unlike some of their competitors, "we are not going to be selling everything ourselves," he said. So ABB has committed itself to a channel partner strategy moving forward.