ABB completed its acquisition of Thomas & Betts, a North American leader in low-voltage products. The deal, originally announced in January, is part of a three-year, $11 billion expansion that makes the U.S. ABB's largest market in terms of sales and employees.
"This acquisition is going to add more than 8,000 people to our team here in North America," noted Enrique Santacana, president and CEO of the North American region for ABB, during a conference call. "This is a continuation of a very focused effort by ABB to expand our presence in North America."
The Thomas & Betts acquisition follows on the heels of ABB's acquisition of industrial motor manufacturer Baldor Electric earlier this year; and also Ventyx, an asset management software company acquired by ABB two years ago.
"This acquisition reinforces the United States as the largest market for ABB in the world. It's now close to $7 billion in the United States, with close to 19,000 employees," Santacana added. "In North America, we're going to be approaching a $10 billion company with close to 30,000 employees."
The complementary combination of Thomas & Betts' electrical components and ABB's low-voltage protection, control and measurement products will create a broader low-voltage portfolio that can be distributed through Thomas & Betts' network of more than 6,000 distributor locations and wholesalers in North America, and through ABB's distribution channels in Europe and Asia.
In North America, the combination will double ABB's addressable market to about $24 billion, "giving us a lot of room for growth," Santacana said. "We continue to look at other opportunities here in the United States—to help us fill the white spaces, whether for geographical dimension or product dimension."
The acquisition is part of ABB's plan to expand its Low Voltage Products division. "Our joint low-voltage electrical components business is globally balanced and has one of the broadest scopes in the industry," said Tarak Mehta, head of the division. "Thomas & Betts' strong distribution network and talented and experienced team of professionals will be an integral part of our U.S. operations, and ABB will be better positioned to support low-voltage customers around the world."
Thomas & Betts will operate as a standalone business of ABB, Santacana said. "We will not change the way that they have established their business model, which is a very successful one."
Dominic Pileggi will remain as chairman of Thomas & Betts; and Charles Treadway, previously COO, will take over from him as CEO. "We are proud to join ABB and bring our skills, products and longstanding customer relationships into ABB's portfolio," Treadway said. "With our expanded product offering and global market presence, our combined companies have significant opportunities for growth."