ABB today announced the acquisition of B&R, the largest independent provider focused on product- and software-based, open-architecture solutions for machine and factory automation worldwide. B&R, headquartered in Eggelsberg, Austria, employs more than 3,000 people, including about 1,000 R&D and application engineers. It operates across 70 countries, generating sales of more than $600 million (2015/16) in the $20 billion machine and factory-automation market segment. The combination will result in a comprehensive offering for customers of industrial automation by pairing B&R's products, software and solutions for modern machine and factory automation with ABB’s offerings in robotics, process automation, digitalization and electrification.
Through the acquisition, ABB expands its leadership in industrial automation and will be positioned to seize growth opportunities resulting from the Fourth Industrial Revolution. In addition, ABB takes a step in expanding its digital offering by combining its portfolio of digital solutions (ABB Ability) with B&R's application and software platforms, its large installed base, customer access and tailored automation solutions.
“B&R is a gem in the world of machine and factory automation and this combination is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. This transaction marks a true milestone for ABB, as B&R will close the historic gap within ABB’s automation offering. This is a perfect fit and will make us the only industrial automation provider offering customers the entire spectrum of technology and software solutions around measurement, control, actuation, robotics, digitalization and electrification,” said ABB CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer [pictured]. “This acquisition perfectly delivers on our Next Level strategy. With our unique digital offering and our installed base of more than 70 million connected devices, 70,000 control systems and now more than 3 million automated machines and 27,000 factory installations around the world, we enable our combined global customer base to seize the huge opportunities of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”
“This combination offers fantastic opportunities for B&R, its customers and employees,” added Josef Rainer, co-founder of B&R. “We are convinced that ABB offers the best platform for the next chapter of our growth story. ABB’s global presence, digital offering and complementary portfolio will be key for us to further accelerate our pace of innovation and growth.”
“This is a strong signal for our employees as our operations in Eggelsberg will become ABB’s global center for machine and factory automation,” said Erwin Bernecker, co-founder of B&R. “The most important thing to me is that the companies and their people fit so well together and that our founding location will play such a key role.”
With the acquisition, ABB will expand its industrial-automation offering by integrating B&R's products in PLC, Industrial PCs and servo motion as well as its software and solution suite. ABB will offer its customers a comprehensive, open-architecture automation portfolio.
Both companies have complementary portfolios. ABB is a provider of solutions serving customers in utilities, industry and transport & infrastructure. B&R is a solution provider in the automation of machines and factories for industries such as plastics, packaging, food and beverage. The joint commitment to open architecture increases customer choice and flexibility facilitating connectivity in increasingly digitalized industries.
Substantial investments in innovation
Innovation is at the heart of both companies. B&R invests more than 10 percent of its sales in R&D and employs more than 1,000 people in R&D and application engineering. ABB spends $1.5 billion annually on R&D and employs some 30,000 technologists and engineering specialists. Going forward, ABB and B&R will continue to invest considerably in R&D, both claim.
ABB will continue B&R's solution-based business model and build on its deep domain expertise to develop new software-based services and solutions for end-to-end digitalization. ABB Ability will now capitalize on the large installed base, application and solution know-how, simulation-software expertise and advanced engineering tools of B&R.
Proven integration approach
On closing of the transaction, B&R will become part of ABB’s Industrial Automation division as a new global business unit–Machine & Factory Automation–headed by the current managing director, Hans Wimmer. The co-founders of B&R, Erwin Bernecker and Josef Rainer, will act as advisors during the integration phase to ensure continuity.
The integration will be growth-focused and live by the “best-of-both-worlds” principle, with ABB adding its own PLC and servo-drive activities to the offering of the new business unit in a phased approach. ABB underlines its clear commitment to continuing the B&R growth story by articulating a mid-term sales ambition to exceed $1 billion.
With this acquisition, ABB becomes the largest industrial automation player in Austria, where it has operated for more than 100 years. With B&R's growing future role and its headquarters in Austria, claim the companies, the planned expansion of the R&D and production activities in Eggelsberg and Gilgenberg will strengthen that nation's high-tech industrial landscape.
Find more information here: http://new.abb.com/br-abb-leadership-industrial-automation