ABB to sell heating & ventilation business to Nortek for $260 million

ZURICH Fri Mar 21, 2014 8:57am EDT

A woman walks past the logo of Swiss industrial group ABB at an office building in Zurich October 24, 2013. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

A woman walks past the logo of Swiss industrial group ABB at an office building in Zurich October 24, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Arnd Wiegmann

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ZURICH (Reuters) - Swiss engineering group ABB (ABBN.VX) said on Friday it has agreed to sell its U.S. Thomas & Betts' heating, ventilation and air conditioning business to U.S. conglomerate Nortek (NTK.O) for $260 million in cash.

ABB, which is pruning its portfolio under new chief executive Ulrich Spiesshofer, said it expects the sale to close in the second quarter of this year, subject to regulatory approval.

Reuters reported last month that ABB was looking to sell several non-core businesses, including its heating and air conditioning unit operated under the Reznor brand owned by Thomas & Betts, in deals that could raise more than $1 billion.

A number of industrial companies have been selling off assets to focus on their core strengths and improve earnings during a tentative economic recovery.

Last year, ABB's German rival Siemens (SIEGn.DE) sold off the bulk of its water technology business as well its stake in mobile telecoms equipment maker Nokia Siemens Networks, and spun off its lighting business Osram (OSRn.DE).

ABB bought Thomas & Betts, a U.S. maker of electrical components, in 2012 for $3.9 billion to help expand its low-voltage products business in North America.

In a statement, the Swiss company said it was divesting the heating and air conditioning unit because it lacked synergies with ABB's core portfolio of electrical motors and drives.

Last October, ABB said it would sell the assets of Baldor's generator-set business to Generac Holdings (GNRC.N) for an undisclosed price.

(Reporting by Caroline Copley; Editing by Noah Barkin and Elaine Hardcastle)

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