Hitachi-ABB Power Grids takeover could boost e-mobility and energy storage

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Japanese electronics giant Hitachi will expand its business in electric trains and buses, industrial energy management, smart cities, energy storage and software solutions following the completion of its acquisition of the Power Grids business formerly owned by Swiss-Swedish company ABB.

A spokesperson from the PR business which announced completion of the deal told pv magazine Hitachi would hand over $6.85 billion to acquire an initial 80.1% stake in the ABB Power Grids business. She was unable to comment on what a reported “business volume” of $10 billion from the tie-up, trailed in the original PR release, referred to.

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Hitachi will have the option of purchasing the 19.9% shareholding retained by ABB in 2023, as part of the transaction – which Hitachi is curiously refusing to acknowledge as an acquisition, instead repeatedly referring only to the resulting joint venture. The balance of the shares may explain why the acquisition has been reported as worth “just over $9 billion” and a “total $11 billion” in some media. The PR company spokesperson pv magazine corresponded with did not comment on those figures.

The deal, which was announced in December 2018, had to be cleared by the EU on competition grounds and is reportedly Hitachi’s biggest ever transaction as it switches focus from nuclear plants to electricity grid networks.