ABB to transfer solar inverter business to new division

ABB, the Swiss power electronics company, has reported its first quarterly revenue increase in nearly two years in its Q4 2016 and full year 2016 financials, largely due to the strong performance of its power grids division.

The engineering firm’s wide business range meant a mixed performance on a more granular level. Its solar business – which is predominantly solar inverters – looks to be an area of concern for ABB.

Buried within the financial report was a note stating that effective January 1 2017, “electric vehicle charging, solar and power quality businesses are transferred from Discrete Automation and Motion to Electrification Products” – a move that is expected to have a “dampening” effect on the latter’s margin, while the former division is expected to see its margins grow.

In Q4 last year, the Discrete Automation and Motion division – which included solar inverter figures – recorded a 3% decrease in revenue quarter-over-quarter, while Electrification Products saw no change.

What tangible benefits a shift in division classification can bring to solar inverters and EV charging remains unclear at this stage, but on a more macro level the firm stated that there are positive economic signs emerging in the U.S. and China – two markets that have proven solid players for ABB’s inverter business.