Business divisions

Industry background

As a global leader in power and automation, we serve utilities, industry and transport & infrastructure customers through our business divisions. These markets and our divisions are discussed in more detail below. Revenue figures presented in this Business Divisions section are before interdivisional eliminations.

Utilities Market

ABB focuses on the changing needs of utility customers with its complete power & automation offering for transmission and distribution. The ongoing shift in the electricity value chain such as the growth in renewable power generation created opportunities for companies that are able to deliver intelligent solutions to the challenges customers face with regard to increased grid complexity and stability. Renewables are also making stand-alone grids possible for remote, off-grid communities. Currently, these must be equipped with back-up (diesel) generators to cope with intermittent supply, but innovations in power storage technology promise to dramatically expand the application of these micro-grids, which are another key focus for ABB.

Our primary focus is ‘power & automation for the grid’ with niche automation solutions for utilities in power generation. With the significant shift in the electricity value chain, integration of renewables, micro-grids and solutions to control the flow are key growth drivers for the future. The grid of tomorrow will increase in complexity as there will be numerous feed-in points. Our power & automation solutions help utilities, which generally are public or government-owned entities and tend to be more consolidated in nature, address these challenges.

Utilities remained cautious in 2015 but continued to make selective investments in infrastructure-critical power transmission projects. For example, ABB won an important order to connect the Norwegian and German power grids. The NordLink project will be Europe’s largest high voltage direct current (HVDC) power grid interconnection to enable the transmission of 1,400 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy. In China, ABB was awarded orders totaling $300 million to boost power capacity and grid reliability by enabling two new long-distance 800 kilovolt (kV) ultrahigh voltage direct current (UHVDC) transmission links transporting 8,000 megawatts each. Furthermore, ABB won an order worth over $160 million from Eskom, South Africa’s national electricity provider, to supply control systems, software and instrumentation for the 4,800 MW Kusile clean coal-fired power station which is more efficient than conventional coal-fired power plants as it lowers emissions and reduces fuel costs.

Industry Market

On the industry side, we serve factories all around the world from discrete to process industries. Energy efficiency and productivity are the hallmarks of ABB’s offerings in this customer segment. Industry customers are diverse in nature and may be publicly traded or privately held companies. Our energy efficient products, systems and services reduce consumption and therefore electricity cost and carbon emissions, while our automation systems increase productivity, quality and efficiency, and keep workplaces safe. Since industrial customers have increasingly been focusing on enhancing energy efficiency and asset productivity, our offering is a key value proposition for them.

Demand from industrial customers in 2015 varied by sector and region. However, low oil prices resulted in a continued constraint in discretionary spending by oil and gas customers. The need for cutting edge solutions to increase efficiency and to use renewable power generation to lower the environmental impact continued to be important demand drivers. In this context, ABB won a $90-million order for a high-voltage cable system to supply power from the Norwegian power grid to the Johan Sverdrup offshore oil field. Supplying electric power from shore for offshore oil and gas production avoids the need for offshore resources and to burn diesel or gas out at sea to power the equipment, and is much safer and more energy efficient. In addition, demand for robotics solutions in general industry is growing as there is an increased need for automated processes and productivity. YuMi®, ABB’s collaborative robot, helps meet this need.

Transport & Infrastructure Market

Alongside ABB’s offering for utilities and industry, the company provides power & automation solutions for transport & infrastructure customers. As transport customers focus on energy efficiency and reduced operating costs, our combined offer of power & automation solutions are key. Another key growth driver for this customer segment is the move to increased electric transportation as well as urbanization and growth in datacenters. Our expertise in power & automation has given us the edge when it comes to providing clean and reliable power solutions for transport networks and infrastructure.

Demand from the transport & infrastructure market in 2015 was mixed, with continuing strong demand from the rail industry. For example, ABB continued its collaboration with Stadler Rail with orders totaling $115 million to deliver its newest traction equipment for reliable and energy-efficient trains in the United States and Europe. Furthermore, ABB delivered substations for the Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) to boost power supply and help accommodate rising traffic volumes in Switzerland. ABB’s marine solutions to boost efficiency, reliability and flexibility were delivered to Estonia-based Tallink Group for their new liquefied natural gas (LNG) powered fast ferries.

Discrete Automation and Motion Division


The Discrete Automation and Motion division offers a wide range of products and services including variable-speed drives, motion control solutions, motors, generators, power electronics systems, rectifiers, power quality and power protection products, mechanical power transmission of rotating equipment, traction converters, solar inverters, wind turbine converters, electric vehicle charging infrastructure, programmable logic controllers (PLCs), and industrial robots. These products help customers to improve productivity, quality, and energy efficiency, and generate energy. Key applications include energy conversion, data processing, actuation, automation, standardized manufacturing cells for applications such as machine tending, welding, cutting, painting, finishing, picking, packing and palletizing, and engineered systems for the automotive industry. The majority of these applications are for industrial applications including discrete manufacturing, process automation and hybrid or batch manufacturing, with others provided for infrastructure and buildings, transportation, and utilities. The division also provides a full range of life-cycle services, from product and system maintenance to application design, including energy efficiency appraisals, preventive maintenance and remote monitoring services.

Revenues are generated both from direct sales to end users as well as from indirect sales through distributors, machine builders and OEMs (original equipment manufacturers), system integrators, and panel builders.

The Discrete Automation and Motion division had approximately 29,700 employees as of December 31, 2015, and generated $9.1 billion of revenues in 2015.

Products and Services

The Discrete Automation and Motion division provides low-voltage and medium-voltage drive products and systems for industrial, commercial and residential applications. Drives provide speed, torque and motion control for equipment such as fans, pumps, compressors, conveyors, centrifuges, mixers, hoists, cranes, extruders, printing and textile machines. They are used in industries such as building automation, marine, power, transportation, food and beverage, metals, mining, and oil and gas.

The division also produces a range of power conversion products. These include static excitation and synchronizing systems that provide stability for power stations, uninterruptible power supply modular systems, as well as high power rectifiers that convert alternating current (AC) power to direct current (DC) power for very high-amperage applications such as furnaces in aluminum smelters. The division also manufactures solar inverters, wind turbine converters and converters for power protection. Rail traction converters, DC wayside power solutions and a range of solutions for the charging of electric vehicles are also part of the division’s portfolio.

Discrete Automation and Motion supplies a comprehensive range of electrical motors and generators, including high-efficiency motors that conform to leading environmental and Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS). Efficiency is an important selection criterion for customers, because electric motors account for nearly two-thirds of the electricity consumed by industrial plants. The Discrete Automation and Motion division manufactures synchronous motors for the most demanding applications and a full range of low- and high-voltage induction motors, for both IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) and NEMA (National Electrical Manufacturers Association) standards.

The Discrete Automation and Motion division offers robots, controllers and software systems and services for the automotive manufacturers and their sub-suppliers as well as for general manufacturing industries, to improve product quality, productivity and consistency in manufacturing processes. Robots are also used in activities or environments which may be hazardous to employee health and safety, such as repetitive lifting, dusty, hot or cold rooms, or painting booths. In the automotive industry, the robot products and systems are used in such areas as press shop, body shop, paint shop, power train assembly, trim and final assembly. General industry segments in which robotics solutions are used range from metal fabrication, foundry, plastics, food and beverage, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, computers, consumer electronics and communications (3C) industries to solar and wood industries. Typical general industry applications include welding, material handling, painting, picking, packing, palletizing and small parts assembly automation.

The division also offers services that complement its products, including design and project management, engineering, installation, training and life-cycle care, energy efficiency appraisals and preventive maintenance.


The Discrete Automation and Motion division serves a wide range of customers. Customers include machinery manufacturers, process industries such as pulp and paper, oil and gas, and metals and mining companies, hybrid and batch manufacturers such as food and beverage companies, rail equipment manufacturers, discrete manufacturing companies such as ‘3C’ (computer, communication and consumer electronic), utilities and renewable energy suppliers, particularly in the wind and solar sectors, as well as customers in the automotive industry and electric vehicle charging networks.

Sales and Marketing

Sales are made both through direct sales forces as well as through third-party channel partners, such as distributors, wholesalers, installers, machine builders and OEMs, system integrators, and panel builders. The proportion of direct sales compared to channel partner sales varies among the different industries, product technologies and geographic markets.


The Discrete Automation and Motion division’s principal competitors vary by product line but include Fanuc Robotics, Kuka Robot Group, Rockwell Automation, Schneider, Siemens, Yaskawa, SMA and WEG Industries.

Capital Expenditures

The Discrete Automation and Motion division’s capital expenditures for property, plant and equipment totaled $145 million in 2015, compared to $192 million and $214 million in 2014 and in 2013, respectively. Principal investments in 2015 were primarily related to equipment replacement and upgrades. Geographically, in 2015, Europe represented 48 percent of the capital expenditures, followed by the Americas (33 percent) and AMEA (19 percent).

Low Voltage Products Division


The Low Voltage Products division helps customers to improve productivity, use energy efficiently and increase safety. The division offers a wide range of products and systems, with related services, that provide protection, control and measurement for electrical installations, enclosures, switchboards, electronics and electromechanical devices for industrial machines and plants. The main applications are in industry, building, infrastructure, rail and sustainable transportation, renewable energies and e-mobility applications.

The Low Voltage Products division had approximately 29,100 employees as of December 31, 2015, and generated $6.5 billion of revenues in 2015.

A majority of the division’s revenues comes from sales through distributors, wholesalers, OEMs, system integrators, and panel builders, although a portion of the division’s revenues comes from direct sales to end users and utilities.

Products and Services

The Low Voltage Products division offering covers a wide range of products and services including low-voltage switchgears, breakers, switches, control products, DIN-rail components, automation and distribution enclosures, wiring accessories and installation material for many kinds of applications.

The division offers solutions for restoring service rapidly in case of a fault and providing optimum protection of the electrical installation and people using such installations. The product offering ranges from miniature circuit breakers to high-capacity molded-case and air circuit breakers, and includes safety switches used for power distribution in factories and buildings, fuse gear systems for short circuit and overload protection as well as cabling and connection components.

The Low Voltage Products division also offers terminal blocks and printed circuit board connectors used by panel builders and OEMs to produce standard distribution and control panels as well as specialized applications in industries such as traction, energy, maritime, explosive atmospheres and electronics. In addition, the division offers a range of contactors, soft starters, starters, proximity sensors, safety products for industrial protection, limit switches and manual motor starters, along with electronic relays and overload relays.

The division provides smart home and intelligent building control systems, also known as KNX protocol, a complete system for all energy-reducing building application areas such as lighting and shutters, heating, ventilation, cooling and security. In addition, the division’s IEC and NEMA compliant switchgear technology integrates intelligent motor and feeder control solutions to enhance protection, digital control, condition monitoring and plant-wide data access by process control systems, electrical control systems and other plant computers.

The Low Voltage Products division has also developed a range of products for new markets, such as those used by electric vehicles (e-mobility) and in photovoltaic, solar and wind applications. These include circuit breakers, energy meters, switch-disconnectors, residual current-operated circuit breakers, interface relays and other products designed for outdoor installation.

The division also supplies a wide range of electrical components including conduits, boxes, covers, fittings, connectors, fasteners, wiring ducts, terminals, cable trays, struts, grounding, insulation, switchgear, metal framing, earthing & lightning protection and industrial lighting products for various types of application.


The Low Voltage Products division serves a wide range of customers, including residential and commercial building contractors, process industries, rail equipment manufacturers, manufacturing companies, utilities and renewable energy suppliers, particularly in the wind and solar sectors.

Sales and Marketing

Sales are made both through direct sales forces as well as through third-party channel partners, such as distributors, wholesalers, installers, machine builders and OEMs, system integrators, and panel builders. The proportion of direct sales compared to channel partner sales varies among the different industries, product technologies and geographic markets.


The Low Voltage Products division’s principal competitors vary by product line but include Eaton Corporation, Legrand, Mitsubishi, Schneider, Siemens, Leviton, Rittal and Chint Electrical.

Capital Expenditures

The Low Voltage Products division’s capital expenditures for property, plant and equipment totaled $166 million in 2015, compared to $184 million and $204 million in 2014 and 2013, respectively. Investments in 2015 primarily related to equipment replacement and upgrades in recently acquired businesses. Geographically, in 2015, Europe represented 57 percent of the capital expenditures, followed by the Americas (29 percent) and AMEA (14 percent).

Process Automation Division


The Process Automation division is a leading provider of fully-engineered solutions, products and services for process control, safety, instrumentation, plant electrification and energy management for the key process industry sectors of chemical, oil and gas, marine, mining, minerals, metals, cement, and pulp and paper. Each industry has certain unique business drivers, yet all share common requirements for operational productivity, safety, energy efficiency, minimized risk and environmental compliance. The Process Automation division’s core competencies are the applications of automation and electrification technologies to address these generic requirements and are tailored to the characteristics of each of its key industries. Additionally, this business has a number of industry-specific services and anchor products (e.g. gearless mill drives, mine hoists, Azipods, turbochargers) that differentiate the business from its competitors. These products make ABB more relevant to its customers in these industries and represent significant components of a larger automation and electrification scope. The division is organized around industry systems, product businesses and life cycle services. The division had approximately 21,900 employees as of December 31, 2015, and generated revenues of $6.4 billion in 2015.

The Process Automation division offering is made available as separately sold products or as part of a total electrification, instrumentation and/or automation system. The division’s technologies are sold both through direct sales forces and third-party channels.

Products and Services

The Process Automation division offers standalone products, engineered systems and services for process control and measurement, safety, plant electrification, information management, asset management and industry-specific applications for a variety of industries, primarily pulp and paper, metals, minerals and mining, chemical, oil and gas, marine, pharmaceuticals and the power industry. Some of the Discrete Automation and Motion, Power Systems, Power Products and Low Voltage Products divisions’ products are integrated into the process control and electrification systems offered by the Process Automation division.

Our automation systems are used in applications such as continuous and batch control, asset optimization, energy management and safety. They are the hubs that link instrumentation, measurement devices and systems for control and supervision of industrial processes and enable customers to integrate their production systems with their enterprise, resource and planning systems, thereby providing a link to their ordering, billing and shipping processes. This link allows customers to manage their entire manufacturing and business process based on real-time access to plant information. Additionally, it allows customers to increase production efficiency, optimize their assets and reduce environmental waste.

A key element of this division’s product offering is its System 800xA process automation platform. This product extends the capability of traditional process control systems, introducing advanced functions such as batch management, asset optimization and field device integration which “plug in” to a common user environment. The same user interface may also be used to manage components of existing multiple ABB control systems that have been installed in the market over approximately the past 25 years. In this way, System 800xA gives customers a way to migrate to new functions one step at a time, rather than having to make a large-scale capital investment to replace their entire control system. By creating a common user interface that can be used to manage multiple systems, System 800xA also reduces the research and development investment needed to achieve a “one size fits all” solution across our large installed systems base. The division also offers a full line of instrumentation and analytical products to analyze, measure and record industrial and power processes.

The division’s product offerings for the pulp and paper industries include quality control systems for pulp and paper mills, control systems, drive systems, on-line sensors, actuators and field instruments. On-line sensors measure product properties, such as weight, thickness, color, brightness, moisture content and additive content. Actuators allow the customer to make automatic adjustments during the production process to improve the quality and consistency of the product. Field instruments measure properties of the process, such as flow rate, chemical content and temperature.

We offer our customers in the metals, cement and mining industries specialized products and services, as well as total production systems. We design, plan, engineer, supply, erect and commission electric equipment, drives, motors and equipment for automation and supervisory control within a variety of areas including mining, mineral handling, aluminum smelting, hot and cold steel applications and cement production.

In the oil and gas sector, we provide solutions for onshore and offshore production and exploration, refining, and petrochemical processes, and oil and gas transportation and distribution.

In the pharmaceuticals and fine chemicals areas, we offer applications to support manufacturing, packaging, quality control and compliance with regulatory agencies.

In the marine industry, we provide global shipbuilders with power and automation technologies for luxury cruise liners, ferries, tankers, offshore oil rigs and special purpose vessels. We design, engineer, build, supply and commission electrical and automation systems for marine power generation, power distribution and diesel electric propulsion, as well as turbochargers to improve efficiency for diesel and gasoline engines.

We also offer a complete range of lifecycle services across all of our customer segments to help customers optimize their assets. Demand for our process automation services is increasing as our customers seek to increase productivity by improving the performance of existing equipment.


The Process Automation division’s end customers are primarily companies in the oil and gas, minerals and mining, metals, pulp and paper, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, and the marine industries. Customers for this division are looking for complete instrumentation, automation and electrification solutions which demonstrate value mainly in the areas of lower capital costs, increased plant availability, lower lifecycle costs and reduced project costs.

Sales and Marketing

The Process Automation division uses a direct sales force as well as third-party channel partners, such as distributors, system integrators and OEMs. For the division as a whole, the majority of revenues are derived through the division’s own direct sales channels.


The Process Automation division’s principal competitors vary by industry or product line. Competitors include Emerson, Honeywell, Metso Automation, Rockwell Automation, Schneider, Siemens, Voith, and Yokogawa Electric Corporation.

Capital Expenditures

The Process Automation division’s capital expenditures for property, plant and equipment totaled $52 million in 2015, compared to $49 million and $68 million in 2014 and 2013, respectively. Principal investments in 2015 were in the measurement products and turbocharging businesses. Geographically, in 2015, Europe represented 60 percent of the capital expenditures, followed by the Americas (21 percent) and AMEA (19 percent).

Power Products Division


The Power Products division primarily serves electric, gas and water utilities as well as industrial and commercial customers, with a wide portfolio of products and services across a wide voltage range to facilitate power generation, transmission and distribution. Direct sales account for a significant part of the division’s total revenues, and external channel partners, such as wholesalers, distributors and OEMs, account for the rest. Key technologies include high- and medium-voltage switchgear, circuit breakers for a range of current ratings and voltage levels, power, distribution, traction and other special transformers, as well as products to help control and protect electrical networks. The division had approximately 35,100 employees as of December 31, 2015, and generated $9.6 billion of revenues in 2015.

Products and Services

The Power Products division manufactures products that can be placed in three broad categories: high-voltage products, medium-voltage products and transformers. The division sells directly to end customers and also through channels such as distributors, wholesalers, installers and OEMs. Some of the division’s products are also integrated into the turnkey offerings of systems divisions such as Power Systems and Process Automation or sold through engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) firms.

The High Voltage Products business supplies equipment, ranging from 50 to 1,200 kilovolts, mainly to power transmission utilities and also serves industrial customers. This equipment primarily enables the transmission grid to operate more reliably and efficiently with minimum environmental impact. As part of its portfolio, this business designs and manufactures a range of air-, gas-insulated and hybrid switchgear, generator circuit breakers, capacitors, high-voltage circuit breakers, surge arresters, instrument transformers, cable accessories and a variety of high-voltage components. This is supported by a range of service solutions to support the products throughout their life cycle.

The Medium Voltage Products business offers products and services that largely serve the power distribution sector, often providing the link between high-voltage transmission systems and low-voltage users. Medium-voltage products help utility and industrial customers to improve power quality and control, reduce outage time and enhance operational reliability and efficiency. This business reaches customers directly and through channels such as distributors and OEMs. Its comprehensive offering includes medium-voltage equipment (1 to 50 kilovolts), indoor and outdoor circuit breakers, reclosers, fuses, contactors, relays, instrument transformers, sensors, motor control centers, ring main units for primary and secondary distribution, as well as a range of air- and gas-insulated switchgear. It also produces indoor and outdoor modular systems and other solutions to facilitate efficient and reliable power distribution.

The Transformers business designs and manufactures power transformers (72.5 to 1,200 kilovolts) for utility and industrial customers that help to step up or step down voltage levels and include special applications such as HVDC converter transformers or phase shifters. This business also supplies transformer components and insulation material, such as bushings and tap changers. It also manufactures a wide range of distribution transformers (up to 72.5 kilovolts) for use in the power distribution sector, industrial facilities and commercial buildings. These transformers are designed to step down electrical voltage bringing it to consumption levels. They can be oil- or dry-type and, although oil-type transformers are more commonly used, demand for dry-type transformers is growing because they minimize fire hazards and are well-suited for applications such as office buildings, wind turbines, offshore drilling platforms, marine vessels and large industrial plants. Another part of the offering includes traction transformers for use in electric locomotives, special application transformers, as well as a wide range of service and retrofit solutions for utility and industry customers.


The Power Products division serves electric utilities, owners and operators of power generating plants and power transmission and distribution networks. It also serves industries across the spectrum. Customers include electric, gas, water and other utilities, as well as industrial and commercial customers.

Sales and Marketing

The Power Products division sells its products individually and as part of wider solutions through our systems divisions. Direct sales account for a significant part of the division’s business and the rest are sold through external channel partners, such as wholesalers, distributors, system integrators, EPCs and OEMs. As the Power Products and Power Systems divisions share many of the same customers and technologies and are influenced by similar market drivers, they also have a common front-end sales organization to maximize market synergies and coverage across countries, regions, and sectors for the entire power portfolio.


On a global basis, the main competitors for the Power Products division are Siemens, General Electric and Schneider. The division also faces global competition in some product categories from competitors in emerging markets. It also competes in specific geographies with companies such as Eaton Corporation, Hyundai, Hyosung, Crompton Greaves, Larsen & Toubro and Bharat Heavy Electricals.

Capital Expenditures

The Power Products division’s capital expenditures for property, plant and equipment totaled $164 million in 2015, compared to $220 million and $252 million in 2014 and 2013, respectively. Principal investments in 2015 related to upgrades and expansion of existing facilities in Sweden, China, United States, Germany and Czech Republic. Geographically, in 2015, Europe represented 53 percent of the division’s capital expenditures, followed by the Americas (24 percent) and AMEA (23 percent).

Power Systems Division


The Power Systems division serves public and private utilities, as well as industrial and commercial customers with solutions for power and water plants, grid integration and automation as well as a complete range of systems and services for the generation, transmission and distribution of electricity. Turnkey solutions include power plant electrification and automation, bulk power transmission, substations and network management. The division had approximately 18,100 employees as of December 31, 2015, and generated $6.3 billion of revenues in 2015.

Products and Services

The Power Systems division delivers solutions through four businesses: Power Generation, Grid Systems, Substations and Network Management. The scope of work in a typical turnkey contract includes design, system engineering, supply, installation, commissioning and testing of the system. As part of the business model, the Power Systems division integrates products from both the Power Products division and external suppliers, adding value through design, engineering and project management to deliver turnkey solutions.

The Power Generation business is a leading provider of automation solutions for all types of power generation plants, including coal, gas, combined-cycle, waste-to-energy and a range of renewables including hydro, solar, wind and biomass. With an offering that includes electrical balance of plant as well as instrumentation and control systems, ABB technologies help optimize performance, improve reliability, enhance efficiency and minimize environmental impact throughout the plant life cycle. The business also serves the water industry, including applications such as pumping stations and desalination plants.

As part of the Grid Systems business, ABB provides a comprehensive offering of AC and DC transmission systems, which help customers to reduce transmission losses, maximize efficiency and improve grid reliability. ABB pioneered HVDC technology nearly 60 years ago. HVDC technology is designed to reliably and efficiently transmit electrical power over long distances via overhead lines and underground or submarine cables with minimum losses. HVDC is also widely used for grid interconnections. HVDC Light®, a more compact form of ABB’s classic HVDC technology, is ideal for linking offshore installations, such as wind farms or oil and gas platforms, to mainland grids and for interconnections, often via subsea links. The environmental benefits of HVDC Light®, include neutral electromagnetic fields, oil-free cables and compact converter stations.

ABB also offers a comprehensive range of land and submarine cables through its Grid Systems business, as well as accessories and services for a range of applications from medium- to high-voltage AC and DC systems. The portfolio includes high-performance XLPE (cross-linked polyethylene) insulated cables for high efficiency transmission systems at voltages up to 525 kilovolts. When it comes to transmission grid solutions, ABB manufactures its own power semiconductors, which are a key enabler for HVDC, flexible alternating current transmission systems (FACTS) and other technologies, serving a range of sectors including transportation and wind.

Substations are key installations in the power grid that facilitate the efficient transmission and distribution of electricity with minimal environmental impact. They perform the vital function of monitoring and controlling power flows, feeding power from generating stations into the grid and providing the link between transmission and distribution networks as well as end consumers. ABB has successfully delivered air- and gas-insulated substations in all kinds of environments, from deserts and mountains to offshore rigs and crowded city centers. ABB’s substation offering spans a range of voltage levels up to 1,100 kilovolts, serving utility, industry and commercial customers as well as sectors such as railways, urban transportation and renewables.

FACTS technologies are also part of the Substations business offering. FACTS solutions help improve power quality and can significantly increase the capacity of existing AC transmission systems, by as much as 50 percent, while maintaining and improving system reliability. FACTS technologies also boost transmission efficiency, relieve bottlenecks and can be used for the safe integration of intermittent power sources, such as wind and solar, into the grid. By enhancing the capacity of existing transmission infrastructure, FACTS solutions can alleviate the need for capital investment, reducing the time, cost and environmental impact associated with the construction of new generating facilities and transmission lines. By improving efficiency, FACTS technologies help to deliver more power to consumers, reducing the need for more electricity generation, and improving power supply and quality. ABB is a global leader in the growing field of FACTS, and has delivered more than 800 such installations across the world.

ABB’s Network Management business offers solutions to help manage power networks. The offering covers network management and utility communications solutions to monitor, control, operate and protect power systems. These solutions are designed to ensure the reliability of electricity supplies and enable real-time management of power plants, transmission grids, distribution networks and energy trading markets. The portfolio includes control and protection systems for power generation, transmission and distribution, supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems, as well as software solutions for central electricity markets and mixed utilities (electricity, district heating, gas and water). It also encompasses the substation automation offering, compliant with IEC 61850, the open communication standard, which provides a common framework for substation control and protection and facilitates interoperability across devices and systems. The Network Management portfolio also covers wireless and fixed communication systems for power, water and gas utilities. It includes fiber optics, microwave radio and power line applications for data networking and broadband network management, as well as teleprotection and substation communication networks and voice switching management systems.

Network management systems are key smart-grid enablers by providing automated power systems to incorporate and manage centralized and distributed power generation, intermittent sources of renewable energy, real-time pricing and load-management data. Relevant acquisitions have made ABB a global leader in enterprise software and services for essential industries such as energy, mining, public infrastructure and transportation. These solutions help to bridge the gap between information technologies (IT) and operational technologies (OT), enabling clients to make faster, better- informed decisions in both daily operations and long-term planning strategies. Some of the world’s largest private and public enterprises rely on such solutions to minimize risk, enhance operational and financial performance and execute the right strategies for the future.

The Power Systems division also has a global footprint and installed base that helps drive the service business. The offering includes a range of services aimed at optimizing operations and reducing maintenance requirements across the value chain. These services range from support agreements and retrofits to spare parts, asset health, management, data analytics and training. The division also undertakes consulting activities such as energy efficiency studies for power plants and grids, analyses and design of new transmission and distribution systems as well as asset optimization based on technical, regulatory, economic and environmental considerations.


The Power Systems division’s principal customers include public and private power generation utilities and companies, transmission and distribution utilities, owners and operators as well as industrial and commercial customers. Other customers include gas and water utilities including multi-utilities, which are involved in the transmission or distribution of more than one commodity.

Sales and Marketing

The Power Systems division promotes its offering primarily through a direct sales force of specialized sales engineering teams. Some sales are also handled through third-party channels, such as EPC firms, OEMs and system integrators. As the Power Products and Power Systems divisions share many of the same customers and technologies, and are influenced by similar market drivers, they also have a common front-end sales organization that helps maximize market synergies across countries and regions.


On a global basis, the Power Systems division faces competition mainly from Siemens and General Electric. Emerson, Prysmian and Nexans are additional competitors in parts of the business. The division also sees emerging competitors in specific regions. The breadth of its portfolio, technology and innovation, a global footprint and a vast installed base, enable the division to maintain its leading position in the power sector.

Capital Expenditures

The Power Systems division’s capital expenditures for property, plant and equipment totaled $75 million in 2015, compared to $92 million and $101 million in 2014 and 2013, respectively. Principal investments in 2015 were related to capacity expansion as well as the replacement of existing equipment, particularly in Sweden. Geographically, in 2015, Europe represented 87 percent of the capital expenditures, followed by AMEA (9 percent) and the Americas (4 percent).

Corporate and Other

Corporate and Other includes headquarters, central research and development, our real estate activities, Group Treasury Operations and other minor business activities.

Corporate headquarters and stewardship activities include the operations of our corporate headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland, as well as corporate-related activities in various countries. These activities cover staff functions with group-wide responsibilities, such as accounting and financial reporting, corporate finance and taxes, planning and controlling, internal audit, legal and integrity, compliance, risk management and insurance, corporate communications, information systems, investor relations and human resources.

Corporate research and development primarily covers our research activities, as our development activities are organized under the five business divisions. We have two global research laboratories, one focused on power technologies and the other focused on automation technologies, which both work on technologies relevant to the future of our five business divisions. Each laboratory works on new and emerging technologies and collaborates with universities and other external partners to support our divisions in advancing relevant technologies and in developing cross-divisional technology platforms. We have corporate research centers in seven countries (China, Germany, India, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States).

Corporate and Other had approximately 1,900 employees at December 31, 2015.

Division realignment

On January 1, 2016, ABB commenced operating 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 & automation for the grid”. ABB’s leading offering to industry and transport & infrastructure—“power & 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 being further aligned to better address customer needs and increase operational efficiency.

The new Power Grids division is a leading supplier of power & automation solutions to customers and comprises ABB’s AC grid, DC grid and grid automation activities, as well as the company’s transformer and high-voltage product businesses. On a pro forma basis, the Power Grids division had revenues in 2015 of approximately $11.6 billion and employed approximately 37,200 employees at January 1, 2016.

The Electrification Products division includes ABB’s medium-voltage products business as well as the breakers & switches, control products, building products, low-voltage systems and Thomas & Betts activities. This combination opens new growth opportunities by taking one of the industry’s most complete ranges of low- and medium-voltage products, solutions and services to a broader customer base through multiple common sales channels. On a pro forma basis, the Electrification Products division had revenues in 2015 of approximately $9.5 billion and employed approximately 41,600 employees at January 1, 2016.

Under our new structure, all of ABB’s control solutions are integrated into the realigned Process Automation division and delivered across ABB’s various end markets through focused front-end customer interfaces. To achieve this, we transferred the DCS business for power generation from the previous Power Systems division. On a pro forma basis, the Process Automation division had revenues in 2015 of approximately $7.2 billion and employed approximately 24,800 employees at January 1, 2016.

There were no significant changes in the Discrete Automation and Motion division.

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.