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ABB buys automation specialist B&R

William Payne
April 20, 2017

Swedish-Swiss industrial automation and engineering group ABB is buying Austrian industrial controls and automation provider Bernecker + Rainer Industrie-Elektronik (B&R). The acquisition is aimed at expanding ABB's robotics and industrial automation portfolio. The company has described the deal as positioning ABB to offer a complete range of products and software for industrial automation.

R&B specialises in controller, visualisation and drive technologies. The company provides both complete systems and subcomponents. The company is focussed on machine and system manufacturing as well as process control automation.

The acquisition price has not been disclosed. ABB has said that B&R has been valued in line with similar industrial companies.

ABB chief executive Ulrich Spiesshofer described the deal as "a perfect fit" that would allow B&R to offer "the entire spectrum of technology and software solutions around measurement, control, actuation, robotics, digitalisation and electrification".

According to the Financial Times, Spiesshofer is under pressure to boost performance of ABB.

B&R has a customer base of more than 4,000 manufacturers. The bulk of its business is in Europe, with Asia accounting for 17 percent and America 15 percent of its global business.

The Austrian company is estimated to have had sales of around 620 million euros last year. The company's sales have grown by over 50 percent since 2011.

ABB's revenues fell 5 percent in 2016 to $33.8 billion.

B&R co-founder Josef Rainer said "We are convinced that ABB offers the best platform for the next chapter of our growth story."