ABB first-quarter net profit falls 3 percent

ZURICH Wed Apr 24, 2013 12:16am EDT

A logo of Swiss engineering group ABB is seen on a building in Zurich February 14, 2013. Switzerland's ABB said it would focus on costs to offset near-term uncertainty about growth in Europe and the United States as it posted better-than-expected profit and orders in the fourth quarter. REUTERS/Michael Buholzer

A logo of Swiss engineering group ABB is seen on a building in Zurich February 14, 2013. Switzerland's ABB said it would focus on costs to offset near-term uncertainty about growth in Europe and the United States as it posted better-than-expected profit and orders in the fourth quarter.

Credit: Reuters/Michael Buholzer

ZURICH (Reuters) - Swiss industrial group ABB (ABBN.VX) posted a smaller-than-expected net profit in the first-quarter, as clients shied away from big industrial investments and U.S. growth slowed.

The world's biggest supplier of industrial motors and power grids said first-quarter net profit fell 3 percent to $664 million. Analysts in a Reuters poll had forecast net profit of $710 million francs.

Engineering groups like ABB and German rival Siemens (SIEGn.DE) are keeping a firm grip on costs as a sluggish global economy saps demand for factory equipment and prompts clients to postpone capital investment.

(Reporting by Caroline Copley)

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