About ABB

We are a global leader in power and automation technologies that improve the performance and lower the environmental impact of our customers in the utility, industry and transportation & infrastructure sectors. We provide a broad range of products, systems, solutions and services that are designed to boost productivity, increase power reliability and enhance energy efficiency. We operate in around 100 countries and employ about 135,000 people.

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 January 1, 2016, comprised five divisions: Discrete Automation and Motion, Low Voltage Products, Process Automation, Power Products, and Power Systems. 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, 2016, ABB operates in a streamlined set-up of four divisions: Power Grids, Electrification Products, Discrete Automation and Motion, and Process Automation. The new Power Grids division focuses on the changing needs of utility customers with ABB’s complete power & automation offering for transmission and distribution delivered from a single source—“power and automation for the grid”. ABB’s leading offering to industry and transport & infrastructure—“power and automation for the site”—is provided by three divisions. The new Electrification Products division combines ABB’s leading low- and medium-voltage businesses. The Discrete Automation and Motion and Process Automation divisions are further aligned, addressing customer needs and operational efficiency. As a result, we believe our new divisional structure of four divisions is geared to better serve market demands. See “Business Divisions—Industry Background” 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,

 

2015

2014

2013

Europe

61,600

63,000

65,000

The Americas

30,900

32,200

34,400

Asia, Middle East and Africa

43,300

45,200

48,300

Total

135,800

140,400

147,700

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.