ABB sees first quarter profits soar

The Swiss-Swedish engineering giant ABB announced on Thursday an 87 percent rise in first quarter net earnings to $1 billion due to strong sales and efficiency gains.

Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) reached a record $1.4 billion, up 65 percent from a year earlier, the company said in a statement.

“ABB experienced a very good start in 2008 across all businesses and regions,” said Michel Demare, the company’s Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer.

Revenues rose 29 percent to $7.95 billion.

ABB said orders, revenue and EBIT increased in all divisions as market demand remained robust in all regions, with utilities investing in new or refurbishing power infrastructure.

Meanwhile, high commodity prices helped support demand from industrial customers, particularly in the metals, minerals and marine sectors, it added.

Regionally, order growth was strongest in Asia at 42 percent, and the company said its order book now stood at $6.8 billion, up $8.4 billion and 46 percent from the same period last year, and an increase of four billion and 18 percent from the end of 2007.

“These excellent results also reflect our continuing strong operational performance,” said Demare, as the company realized benefits from reducing sourcing costs and utilizing its capacity more efficiently.