February 11, 2020 / 2:24 PM / 16 days ago

ABB to shut down plant in Hungary, cutting 1,000 jobs

BUDAPEST (Reuters) - ABB (ABBN.S) will shut its factory in Ozd, northeast Hungary, by the end of this year due to falling customer demand, cutting 1,000 jobs, the Swiss engineering company said on Tuesday.

“The decision was made after a thorough evaluation of all available possibilities at Ozd, but particularly in view of changes in customer demand,” it said. “As a result, Ozd’s volume will continue to decline to the point that it is not viable to keep the plant open.”

The factory, which produces miniature circuit breakers for the electrification division, came into ABB’s ownership when the company bought the GE Industrial Solutions business in 2018.

The decision will not affect ABB’s other business operations in Hungary, it added.

The shutdown is the latest by ABB as the company reacts to weaker demand from automotive customers and an industrial slowdown in Europe and North America.

ABB’s sales fell 2% on a comparable basis during the fourth quarter of 2019, although the Zurich-based company forecasts stable to slightly higher sales in 2020.

ABB, whose products run from industrial robots to software and electric charging stations for cars, said last month it was shedding jobs at a factory in the United States.

Chairman Peter Voser has acknowledged that ABB needed to perform better to catch up with rivals like Siemens (SIEGn.DE) and Schneider Electric (SCHN.PA).

New Chief Executive Bjorn Rosengren is due to take over next month and give more autonomy to ABB’s four business units that cover electrification, industrial drives, industrial controls and robots.

Reporting by Gergely Szakacs and John Revill; Editing by Michael Shields

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