ABB orders outpace sales growth

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Component shortages 'materially hampering' ABB robotics/automation deliveries.
Backlog grows in face of supply chain constraints

CEO Bjorn Rosengren says Swiss manufacturing and technology giant ABB’s order book continues to grow, as do sales in the face of China’s COVID lockdown, the loss of Russia as a market, and robotics component shortages.

ABB booked March-quarter revenues of US$6965 million, up about 1% on the same period in 2021, while net income climbed 20% year-on-year to $604m.

Rosengren said June-quarter underlying market activity was expected to remain broadly similar to the first three months of 2022.

“Revenues in the second quarter tend to be sequentially stronger in absolute terms, supporting a slight sequential margin increase, assuming no escalation of lock-downs in China,” he said.

“In full-year 2022, we expect a steady margin improvement towards the 2023 target of at least 15%, supported by increased efficiency as we fully incorporate the decentralised operating model and performance culture in all our divisions. Furthermore, we expect support from an anticipated positive market momentum and our strong order backlog.

Orders climbed 21% yoy to $9.4 billion in Q1, expanding ABB’s total order backlog by 28% yoy to $18.9b.

ABB said order intake in its robotics and discrete automation business reached $1308m, “the highest quarterly level for several years” and up 56% yoy.

“Revenues on the other hand declined by 14% to $730m, materially hampered by component shortages,” it said. “Consequently, order backlog increased to the high level of $2.5 billion, and although the supply chain is expected to remain strained, the first quarter should have marked the low point for robotics and discrete automation.”

Rosengren said China’s zero-COVID strategy had “no material impact on our ability to fulfill customer deliveries in the first quarter”.

“That said, we are monitoring the situation and although difficult to quantify, we do not rule out somewhat of an adverse near-term impact on operations due to the local lock-downs,” he said.

Prior to suspending order intake in Russia the country represented 1-2% of ABB revenues, the company said.

ABB saw “particularly strong” demand in its process automation division from the marine, and mining and metals markets.

Mining/metals accounted for about US$2605m (9%) of ABB’s total FY21 revenues.


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