ABB posts 12% drop in 2010 net profit, sees 2011 growth

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Swedish-Swiss engineering giant ABB on Thursday said it made $2.56 billion (1.9 billion euros) in net profit for 2010, 12 percent less than a year ago.

Sales also dropped slightly, down 1 percent to $31.6 billion in 2010.

Nevertheless, the group issued an upbeat forecast for this year, forecasting improved demand in both emerging and mature markets.

"We see plenty of growth opportunities as we head into 2011 in both the short-term industry-driven businesses as well as later in the year when we expect utility spending on power equipment to begin a recovery," said chief executive officer Joe Hogan.

"Long-term trends for increased energy efficiency and flexible, more reliable power infrastructure remain very strong. ABB will seize these opportunities with a leaner cost base, an enhanced product portfolio and a more customer-focused organization," he added.

Emerging markets are set to be "significant drivers of growth" as they build up their electrical grids and expand industrial production.

"Demand in mature markets is also expected to improve," added the group, pointing out that power investments were expected to roll in after two years of slowdown.

Industrial customers in mature economies are expected to upgrade the productivity of their manufacturing assets this year, while construction of intelligent buildings could provide greater demand for ABB's automation services.

© 2011 AFP

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