ABB back in the black

The Swiss-Swedish engineering giant ABB reported on Thursday that its net profit last year reached 735.0 million dollars, marking recovery from several years of losses.

Net profit in the fourth quarter was 222.0 million dollars, ABB said in a statement.

It said that there had been a healthy increase in orders in a strong market.

Turnover rose by 9.0 percent last year to 1.7 billion dollars, it said. The group’s core power technologies division increased earnings before interest and taxes by 30.0 percent to 789.0 million dollars for the full year, and by 64.0 percent in the fourth quarter alone.

“We have successfully moved into a phase of profitable organic growth,” said Fred Kindle, the group’s chief executive and president.

ABB has been emerging gradually from the crisis which struck the group in 2001, including huge debts and compensation for asbestos poisoning in the United States.

Its financial woes led to job cuts and a major round of restructuring.

ABB posted a 783.0-million-dollar loss in 2002, and was 767.0 million dollars in the red the following year.

That was down to a 35-million-dollar loss by 2004, when the group’s performance was hit by the addition of 234 million dollars to the asbestos package, taking the total settlement to 1.13 billion dollars.

ABB said on Thursday that it would pay a dividend of 0.12 Swiss francs (0.08 euros, 0.09 dollars), for the first time since 2000.