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ABB acquisition boosts LV business

ABB is buying the North American low-voltage products manufacturer Thomas & Betts for around $3.9bn. ABB says that combining Thomas & Betts' electrical components business with its own LV protection, control and measurement products will create a broader LV portfolio that can be distributed through T&B's network of more than 6,000 distributor locations and wholesalers in North America, and through ABB's distribution channels in Europe and Asia.

T&B has a portfolio of more than 200,000 products marketed under more than 45 brand names. The combined product portfolio and enhanced distribution network will enable ABB to double its addressable market in North America to around $24bn. Globally, the deal will boost ABB`s accessible LV market ABB from $60bn to $85bn.

"Thomas & Betts is a well-run company with strong brands and excellent distribution channels in the world's largest low-voltage products market," says ABB CEO, Joe Hogan. "Because our products are complementary, we'll go to market with one of the broadest offerings in the industry. That creates strong growth opportunities for both ABB and Thomas & Betts, and gives customers and distributors one-stop access to one of the widest ranges of low-voltage products.

Thomas & Betts, combined with ABB's North American low-voltage products business, will become a new global business unit based at T&B`s existing headquarters in Memphis, Tennessee (above), and led by T&B's chairman and CEO, Dominic Pileggi.

Thomas & Betts employs around 9,400 people and last year achieved revenues worth about $2.3bn, with earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation of around $390m. Its main business is the manufacture of LV and ultra-LV electrical products, such as connectors, conduits and fittings, as well as wiring management products for the construction, industrial and utilities markets.

ABB says that T&B's electrical products - which include terminals, test equipment, safety lighting and tools - complement its own LV products, such as circuit-breakers and switches. One area of overlap is in enclosures. Thomas & Betts is said to have good distribution logistics, allowing simple, single invoicing and fast delivery of products.

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