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ABB reports profit fall in 2008

Swiss-based engineering concern ABB has announced that its net profit tumbled by 17 per cent in 2008 to $3.1 billion (SFr3.6 billion).

ABB posted an 88 per cent fall in fourth-quarter net profit to $213 million but the result was better than analysts had been expecting.

The Zurich group, which makes robots and power equipment for utilities, booked provisions of about $870 million in the fourth quarter.

ABB took the step after investigations by United States and European authorities into suspect payments and alleged anti-competitive practices dating between 2004 and 2007.

The Zurich group said in a statement that fourth-quarter orders fell by 19 per cent to $7.2 billion after 11 quarters of growth, as tighter credit conditions made it harder for clients to finance projects.

"We are taking steps now to ensure that we remain competitive, no matter how the market develops," chief executive Joe Hogan said.

The group is aiming for revenue growth of between eight and 11 per cent and for an earnings before interest and tax (Ebit) margin of between 11 and 16 per cent in the mid-term.

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