ABB Sales Edged Down at Start of 'Transitional Year' -- Update

By Brian Blackstone Features Dow Jones Newswires

ABB Ltd. said Thursday first-quarter revenue fell slightly to $7.85 billion from a year ago, but net income rose on divestment of the company's high-voltage cable business, pushing its shares higher.

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The Swiss-based engineering and power-grid company said sales were down 1% from $7.90 billion in the year-ago quarter, though they rose 3% on a comparable basis that adjusted for currency changes, acquisitions and divestments. Orders were $8.4 billion in the first three months of the year, down 9% from the same period in 2016, though they declined a milder 3% on a comparable basis.

The company said net income was $724 million in the latest quarter, up from $500 million a year ago.

"ABB is executing well operationally, while fighting an uphill battle on several fronts," said analysts at Vontobel in a research note. ABB shares were up 1.7% at 22.69 at 0743 GMT.

ABB said 2017 "is expected to be a transitional year" with "modest growth and increased uncertainties" in global markets. "Some macroeconomic signs in the U.S. remain positive and growth in China is expected to continue," it said.

The company said an investigation into a theft at its South Korean subsidiary had concluded that the fraud was limited to that country. The cost of the theft was initially estimated in February to be about $100 million, but the company later reduced that figure to $73 million because of expected payouts from its insurance policies.

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"ABB has started implementing disciplinary consequences and will continue to do so as appropriate," the company said Thursday.

Write to Brian Blackstone at brian.blackstone@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

April 20, 2017 04:37 ET (08:37 GMT)