* Q3 net profit $759 mln vs Reuters poll of $764 mln
* Q3 orders slide 5 pct
* CEO says long-term outlook positive
* Shares down 0.7 percent
By Catherine Bosley
ZURICH, Oct 25 Swiss engineering firm ABB
is cautious about the coming months after the euro
zone crisis and slackness in other major economies translated
into a fall in orders in the third quarter.
Net profit at the company, which competes with the likes of
Siemens and General Electric, dipped 4 percent
in the quarter to $759 million compared with an average analyst
forecast for $764 million. Orders fell 5 percent to $9.295
billion, short of the $9.958 billion expected in a Reuters poll.
"I get concerned that a lot of the macro-economic signals
point down right now, so we have to stay on our toes," Chief
Executive Joe Hogan said.
Yet Hogan was keen to look beyond current economic
turbulence to sketch out good longer-term prospects built on
rising demand for energy efficiency and urbanisation, saying he
had grounds for "cautious optimism".
ABB, which makes components for the oil and gas industry and
big infrastructure projects, has faced tough competition on
prices and weak demand as clients postpone big capital
expenditure projects and governments tighten their belts.
In the third quarter, demand differed depending on the
market, with orders from the United States rising 13 percent and
those from China steady, while they slumped 64 percent in
Germany and 39 percent in India.
ABB shares were down 0.7 percent at 0845 GMT, compared with
0.5 percent rise in the sector index.
Although the fall in ABB's orders was negative, its comments
about the strength of the U.S. market and the stabilisation of
orders in China were positive, said Kepler Capital Markets
"Despite the claimed limited visibility, we believe that an
order backlog covering more than nine months of sales puts ABB
in a relatively good position," Ladner said.
Analysts at Sarasin said the results were too heavily
dependent on the fruits of an acquisition spree Hogan has
embarked upon since taking over in 2008, with electrical
components-maker Thomas & Betts a big contributor.
ABB bought the U.S. firm this May for $3.9 billion, in a bid
to boost its offering of automated products like industrial
robots and enhance its profile in the United States. It bought
motor maker Baldor Electric in 2010,
The fall in ABB's orders in the third quarter would have
been larger without the Thomas & Betts buy.
Hogan, a U.S. citizen, has said no more big deals are
planned this year.