* New CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer pruning ABB's portfolio
* To sell Thomas & Betts' steel structures business
* All-cash deal expected to close in third-quarter.
(Adds details, background)
ZURICH, June 27 Swiss engineering group ABB
said on Friday it had agreed to sell Thomas & Betts'
steel structures business to Trinity Industries Inc for
$600 million in cash, part of a plan to sell off assets outside
its core expertise.
ABB, which is pruning its portfolio under new Chief
Executive Ulrich Spiesshofer, said it expected the sale to close
in the third quarter of this year, subject to regulatory
The sale is the latest in a string of divestments by the
Zurich-based company as industrial groups focus on their core
strengths to ride out a tentative economic recovery.
"This divestment is in line with our strategy for continuous
portfolio optimization and reflects the limited synergies that
the steel structures business has with our core business,"
Spiesshofer said in a statement.
Shares in ABB were trading up 0.5 percent at 20.41 francs by
1231 GMT compared to a 0.3 percent firmer European Industrial
Goods and Services index.
Reuters reported in February that ABB was looking to hive
off parts of Thomas & Betts Corp, the U.S. electrical components
maker it acquired two years ago for $3.9 billion, and from
Power-One Inc, the U.S. solar energy company it bought for about
$1 billion last year.
In March, ABB agreed to sell Thomas & Betts' heating,
ventilation and air conditioning business to U.S. conglomerate
Nortek for $260 million in cash.
It also sold the assets of Baldor's generator-set business
to Generac Holdings last October for an undisclosed
Thomas & Betts' Meyer Steel Structures business manufactures
steel mono pole structures for utility companies in North
America. The Memphis, Tennessee-based firm employs more than
1,100 people and has four U.S.-based manufacturing sites.
(Reporting by Caroline Copley; Editing by Sophie Hares)