ABB will use some of the $1.5bn proceeds from the merger deal to move into what it terms ‘knowledge-based businesses’ buying more companies like Elsag Bailey, which it snapped up last year to get deeper into the more lucrative automation business. But for many, ABB’s name remains indelibly linked with heavy engineering. Time, perhaps, for a name change.
Its automation rival, BTR-Siebe, is to become Invensys. It’s a name with high-tech connotations, with that mix of invention, innovation and systems-building that any self-respecting engineering company now has to plug hard to City investors.
Of course, picking this one from 3,000 possible alternatives was the easy bit. The real job for Invensys now will be to show that there is something innovative and systematic in the way in which the new global engineering giant can make sense of its sprawl of brands, regions and product lines.