Swiss engineering firm ABB, Ltd. (NYSE: ABB – $23.16) said it has won an order worth about $287 million from UK’s National Grid and France’s Réseau de Transport d’Electricité, to provide key high-voltage direct current technology that will help interconnect the electricity networks of France and the UK. With a capacity of 1,000 megawatts, the link will run from Chilling, Hampshire on the southern coast of England to Tourbe in northern France, covering 240 kilometers across the English Channel via sub sea cable.
Separately, ABB is also in the process of acquiring Austria’s B&R, the largest independent provider of product and software-based, open-architecture solutions for machine and factory automation. B&R, operates across 70 countries, generating sales of more than $600 million in the $20 billion machine and factory automation market segment. The combination will result in pairing B&R’s innovative products, software and solutions for factory automation with ABB’s offering in robotics, process automation, digitalization and electrification. ABB has been moving its automation business focus from pure hardware to digital services and software in recent years to perform specific tasks to a more solution-oriented approach. Last year ABB launched its Smart Sensor, which can be attached to electric motors to improve efficiency as well as connect motors to the Internet.
Shares of ABB should continue to appeal to patient, conservative investors and the well-covered dividend, yielding 3.3%, provides for decent total returns to late decade.