About ABB

ABB is a pioneering technology leader in electrification products, robotics and motion, industrial automation and power grids serving customers in utilities, industry and transport & infrastructure globally. For more than four decades, ABB has been part of the industrial digitalization. With more than 70 million devices connected through its installed base of more than 70,000 control systems across all customer segments it serves, ABB is well-positioned to benefit from the Energy and Fourth Industrial Revolution. With a heritage of more than 130 years, ABB operates in more than 100 countries with about 132,000 employees.

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 are headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland.

We manage our business based on a divisional structure, which until December 31, 2016, comprised of four divisions: Electrification Products, Discrete Automation and Motion, Process Automation and Power Grids. 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”.

Effective January 1, 2017, ABB operates in a streamlined set-up of four divisions: Electrification Products, Robotics and Motion, Industrial Automation and Power Grids. The divisions will be empowered as entrepreneurial units within ABB, reflected in an enhancement of their performance and compensation model focusing on individual accountability and responsibility. The divisions benefit from sales collaboration orchestrated by regions and countries as well as from the group-wide digital offering, ABB’s low-cost centralized administrative structure, common supply chain management and corporate research centers. ABB intends to continue to strengthen its divisions through active portfolio management. This includes pursuing strategic additions, transforming business models and pruning non-core businesses. Electrification Products strives to be the partner of choice for electrification across numerous consumption points, Robotics and Motion strives to be the partner of choice for robotics and intelligent motion solutions, Industrial Automation strives to be the partner of choice for industrial automation and Power Grids strives to be the partner of choice for stronger, smarter and greener grids. See “Business Divisions – Division realignment” for additional information related to the realignment of certain business divisions.

Except where the context otherwise requires or where otherwise indicated, the information below is presented to reflect our business prior to this realignment to be consistent with the basis used in preparing our Consolidated Financial Statements.

We operate in approximately 100 countries across three regions: Europe, the Americas, and Asia, Middle East and Africa (AMEA). A breakdown of our employees by geographic region is as follows:

 

December 31,

 

2016

2015

2014

Europe

61,400

61,600

63,000

The Americas

29,000

30,900

32,200

Asia, Middle East and Africa

41,900

43,300

45,200

Total

132,300

135,800

140,400

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.