About ABB

Shenzhen city landscape (photo)

We are a global leader in power and automation technologies. We are committed to improving the performance and lowering the environmental impact for our industry and utility customers. We provide a broad range of products, systems, solutions and services that are designed to boost industrial productivity, increase power grid reliability, and enhance energy efficiency. Our automation businesses serve a full range of industries with process optimization, control, measurement and protection applications. Our power businesses focus on power transmission, distribution and power-plant automation, and support electric, gas and water utilities, as well as industrial and commercial customers.

History of the ABB Group

The ABB Group was formed in 1988 through a merger between Asea AB and BBC Brown Boveri AG. Initially founded in 1883, Asea AB was a major participant in the introduction of electricity into Swedish homes and businesses and in the development of Sweden’s railway network. In the 1940s and 1950s, Asea AB expanded into the power, mining and steel industries. Brown Boveri and Cie. (later renamed BBC Brown Boveri AG) was formed in Switzerland in 1891 and initially specialized in power generation and turbines. In the early to mid-1900s, it expanded its operations throughout Europe and broadened its business operations to include a wide range of electrical engineering activities.

In January 1988, Asea AB and BBC Brown Boveri AG each contributed almost all of their businesses to the newly formed ABB Asea Brown Boveri Ltd, of which they each owned 50 percent. In 1996, Asea AB was renamed ABB AB and BBC Brown Boveri AG was renamed ABB AG. In February 1999, the ABB Group announced a group reconfiguration designed to establish a single parent holding company and a single class of shares. ABB Ltd was incorporated on March 5, 1999, under the laws of Switzerland. In June 1999, ABB Ltd became the holding company for the entire ABB Group. This was accomplished by having ABB Ltd issue shares to the shareholders of ABB AG and ABB AB, the two companies that formerly owned the ABB Group. The ABB Ltd shares were exchanged for the shares of those two companies, which, as a result of the share exchange and certain related transactions, became wholly-owned subsidiaries of ABB Ltd. ABB Ltd shares are currently listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange, the NASDAQ OMX Stockholm Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange (in the form of American Depositary Shares).

Organizational structure

Our business is international in scope and we generate revenues in numerous currencies.

We manage our business based on a divisional structure, with five divisions: Discrete Automation and Motion, Low Voltage Products, Process Automation, Power Products, and Power Systems. For a breakdown of our consolidated revenues (i) by operating division and (ii) derived from each geographic region in which we operate, see “Analysis of results of operations – Revenues.”

We operate in approximately 100 countries across four regions: Europe, the Americas, Asia, and the Middle East and Africa (MEA). We are headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland.

A breakdown of our employees by geographic region is as follows:

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December 31,

 

2013

2012

2011

Europe

65,000

64,000

60,300

The Americas

34,400

34,400

25,900

Asia

39,400

38,300

37,400

Middle East and Africa

8,900

9,400

10,000

Total

147,700

146,100

133,600

The proportion of our employees that are represented by labor unions or are the subject of collective bargaining agreements varies based on the labor practices of each country in which we operate.