ABB buying electrical component maker for North American expansion
In a move to ramp up its presence in the low-voltage product market, Swiss automation technology supplier ABB is acquiring U.S. electrical components maker Thomas & Betts for US$3.9 billion.
Under the terms of the agreement, the transaction is structured as a merger requiring approval of a majority of Memphis, Tenn.-based Thomas & Betts shareholders at a special meeting, which is expected to take place in the second quarter. Closure of the transaction is also conditioned on customary regulatory approvals, including in both North America and Europe.
Thomas & Betts sells many of its products to U.S. utilities, and – according to a press release – ABB is hoping to grab business as these companies boost spending over the next few years to bring older plants in line with new environmental regulations.
“This is a unique opportunity for ABB to grow in the largely untapped North American low-voltage products market,” said Tarak Mehta, Executive Committee member responsible for ABB’s Low Voltage Products division, into which Thomas & Betts will be integrated as a stand-alone unit. “We plan to keep and build on Thomas & Betts’ strong brand and product names. We have complementary products that can be sold together already today and other products that will take some time to introduce to customers.”
The ABB Group of companies operates in around 100 countries and employs about 130,000 people. The company’s North American operations are headquartered in Cary, N.C.; its Canadian headquarters are in Montreal.
Thomas & Betts employs approximately 9,400 people worldwide, and reported 2011 revenues of approximately US$2.3 billion.