24 Jul 2024


ABB completes B&R purchase and announces r&d centre

ABB has completed its acquisition of the automation supplier B&R (Bernecker + Rainer Industrie-Elektronik) and announced plans to build an r&d centre next to B&R’s headquarters near Salzburg, Austria. The deal, which was announced on April 4, 2017, is being financed in cash and is expected to be EPS-accretive in the first year.

ABB describes B&R as the largest independent provider focused on product- and software-based, open-architecture solutions for machine and factory automation. B&R now becomes part of ABB’s Industrial Automation division, forming a new global business called Machine & Factory Automation, which integrates all of ABB’s PLC activities. It will be headed by B&R’s former managing director, Hans Wimmer.

B&R’s co-founders, Erwin Bernecker and Josef Rainer, will act as advisors during the integration process. ABB plans to invest in expanding B&R’s operations, including the new r&d centre. It has set a mid-term sales target for B&R of more than $1bn.

“I am very pleased to now officially welcome B&R to ABB,” says ABB’s CEO, Ulrich Spiesshofer. “This transaction closes ABB’s historic gap in machine and factory automation and expands our leadership in industrial automation. Following the acquisition of B&R, we are the only industrial automation provider offering customers in the process and discrete industries the entire spectrum of technology and software solutions around measurement, control, actuation, robotics, digitalisation and electrification.

“This combination will open new global growth opportunities by expanding our offerings to existing clients, while also bringing ABB’s broad reach, extensive domain knowledge and deep technical expertise to industries and customers that we have not served before,” he adds.

The transaction marks a milestone in ABB’s Next Level strategy, strengthening its position as the world’s second-largest industrial automation player, after Siemens. ABB says that B&R’s products, software and services in PLCs, industrial PCs and servo motion-based machine and factory automation will complement its existing industrial automation portfolio for utilities, industry and transport and infrastructure providers.

“There is a strong cultural fit between B&R and ABB, including our shared commitment to customer-centric, open-architecture software and solutions,” says Peter Terwiesch, president of ABB’s Industrial Automation division. “This will ensure a smooth integration as we combine our strengths and maximise our uniquely comprehensive offering for the benefit of our customers.”

The integration of ABB and B&R is being led by a dedicated team based in Austria, including members from both sides.