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ABB lands huge contract from Qatar

The year 2006 is ending on a high note for ABB

(Keystone)

The ABB engineering group has won a $450 million (SFr549.4 million) contract from Qatar to supply equipment to meet the country's soaring demand for electricity.

ABB said the deal was the latest in a series of orders from the Gulf region, and the biggest transmission and distribution substations order it had ever received.

In a statement from its headquarters in Zurich, the group said it had been awarded the contract from the Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation – Kahramaa.

The deal includes three substations and a telecommunication package in Qatar's grid expansion project, a countrywide effort to increase power in areas of high growth where electricity demand is greatest.

ABB said it would book the order in the fourth quarter of the year.

Huge expansion

"ABB's advanced substation technology is underpinning a huge expansion of Qatar's power transmission capacity, ensuring the region has a reliable supply of electricity," commented Bernhard Jucker, head of ABB's Power Products division.

"ABB's fast delivery and safe, reliable products and systems are helping develop one of the fastest growing power markets in the world."

The substations are due to go into operation in the first half of 2008.

In November last year, ABB won a $170 million contract from Kahramaa for 12 substations and power cables and a $220 million contract for the first phase of the Gulf Grid project, linking the electrical grids of six Gulf states, including Qatar.

ABB said for its latest order it would engineer, procure, construct and commission three substations and supply gas-insulated switchgear and transformers.

Industry orders

In other industry news, figures released on Monday showed an increase of new orders of 10.1 per cent in the third quarter, supporting expectations of future robust growth in industry and the overall economy.

The Federal Statistics Office said industrial production had risen by 8.2 per cent compared with the previous year, while orders on hand had increased by 7.4 per cent.

It noted that the upward trend of Swiss industry was continuing as companies built on strong foreign demand.

Analyst Thomas Hermann at Credit Suisse said the data pointed to strong industry activity ahead.

"Last time we have seen such a good development of the industry in a third quarter was in 1999," he said.

"Looking at the new orders the economy should continue to be robust."

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

ABB financial figures for first nine months of 2006
Orders: $21,08 billion (SFr25.44 billion) up 18% over comparable period in 2005
Sales: $17.39 billion (+7%)
Operating profit (Ebit): $1.83 billion (+49%)

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