March 29, 2018 / 8:49 AM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-ABB ready to participate in global upswing in 2018 - CEO

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By John Revill

ZURICH, March 29 (Reuters) - ABB Chief Executive Ulrich Spiesshofer said the market environment had brightened in 2018 with the Swiss engineering group ready to participate in the expected upswing.

The Zurich-based maker of industrial robots and power transmission systems said it saw positive signs in the solar, robotics and emobility markets, while substantial growth was expected to return to the natural resources sector in "the medium term".

"The reorganisation of the new ABB was completed at precisely the right time, because the markets are on the upswing and we are now well positioned to start 2018 with a full focus on the market and our customers with a focused, strengthened ABB," Spiesshofer said in comments prepared for the company's annual general meeting.

After gaining more than 21 percent in 2017, ABB's stock has lost 14 percent this year, underperforming rivals including Germany's Siemens and France's Schneider.

ABB has completed a reorganisation into four divisions, sold its high-voltage cable business and exited low-margin and high-risk engineering and construction activities.

Chairman Peter Voser said: "We finished our homework: All strategic productivity programmes have now been completed.

"With its solid foundation and focused and strengthened portfolio, ABB is well positioned to continue to develop positively in the coming year," he said in his speech. (Reporting by John Revill; Editing by Michael Shields)

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