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Robots go to China in ABB revamp
Published:  01 August, 2005

ABB is reorganising its structure and moving its robotics headquarters from the US to China as part of a new five-year strategy aimed at securing its competitive position. The new structure, which comes into effect at the start of 2006, will remove a layer of management and replace the current two core divisions - automation and power technologies - with five business areas.

Announcing the changes earlier this month, Fred Kindle, ABB`s president and CEO (above), said that ABB is now "in a strong position and we can look forward to sustainable and profitable growth".

As part of the changes, two Swedes - Tom Sjoekvist and Anders Johnsson - will join the ABB board as heads of the new Automation Products and Robotics divisions. Dinesh Paliwal, currently head of the Automation Technologies division, will take on a new role as president of Global Markets and Technology.

Kindle has set a growth target of at least 5% for the Automation Products division from 2005-2009, with margins rising from 12.4% to at least 14% over this period. This target is faster than the $60bn market`s expected growth rate of 3-4%. Last year, the equivalent division achieved sales of $5.4bn.

ABB warned that there may be job losses in Europe as it focuses increasingly on emerging markets. The new Robotics division - formerly called Manufacturing Automation - will have its headquarters in Shanghai, partly to cut costs and partly to exploit the growing Chinese market. ABB wants to simplify its robot product portfolio and to expand further into non-automotive applications.

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