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ABB unveils higher sales and profit targets

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ZURICH (Reuters) -ABB unveiled higher sales and profitability targets on Tuesday as the Swiss engineering company said it expected to benefit from higher demand from rebounding economies as well as plugging into trends like decarbonisation and shrinking workforces.

The maker of industrial automation and factory robots said it now expects annual sales to increase by 4% to 7%, up from the 3% to 5% annual growth rate it previously targeted.

In the new goals, announced ahead of its capital markets day on Tuesday, ABB said it also aimed to increase its profitability.

From 2023 the company is now aiming for a profit margin as measured in operational earnings before interest, tax, and amortization (EBITA) of “at least” 15%.

Previously it aimed for a margin of 13% to 16%, while during pandemic-hit 2020 ABB posted a margin of 11.1%.

ABB, whose competitors include Germany’s Siemens and France’s Schneider Electric (PA:), also said it would float its E-mobility electric vehicle charging business, with an initial public offering planned for Switzerland in the first half of 2022.

Reuters previously reported the business, which is benefiting from a global boom in battery-powered vehicles, could be valued at around $3 billion.

Chief Executive Bjorn Rosengren said ABB had made progress implementing his plan to decentralise the company’s sprawling operations, but the company could still do more.

“Over the last 24 months, ABB has made solid progress in implementing its decentralized organization and improving quality of revenues,” Rosengren said in a statement. “But we are still not where we want to be.”

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The former Sandvik CEO, who took over at ABB in March 2020, has reorganised ABB into 18 smaller, more autonomous business units and cut headcount at the company’s head office.

Order activity has remained robust this far this year, with ABB expecting positive market momentum in 2022, Rosengren added, although supply chain disruptions which have also hit many other manufacturers would remain a problem.

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