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Capital Calls: Electric spinoff can supercharge ABB value

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An electric car charges on a street in London, Britain, February 4, 2020.

LONDON, April 27 (Reuters Breakingviews) - Concise insights on global finance.

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BJORN TO BE WILD. ABB (ABBN.S) has raised the wattage of its corporate ambition. Shares in the $71 billion Swiss-listed engineering group rose 2% on Tuesday after it announced a planned carveout of its vehicle charging unit, which has grown sales by 50% annually since 2016. Boss Bjorn Rosengren plans to keep a majority stake in the division while using newly listed shares to snap up richly valued competitors.

Recent estimates that Europe alone will need some 3 million public charging points by 2030 to hit electric vehicle aspirations, compared to a Eurelectric estimate of roughly 213,000 currently, suggest bumper top-line expansion can continue. It implies the e-mobility business could generate $743 million in revenue by 2023. On a 14 times multiple, about half the average of where U.S.-listed peers ChargePoint (CHPT.N) and Blink Charging (BLNK.O) currently trade, Rosengren might target a valuation of $10.3 billion, equal to 15% of ABB’s market value. Not bad for a unit which accounted for 1% of group sales last year. And handy fuel for ABB shares. (By Christopher Thompson)

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