Sweden’s Cevian wants spin-off, listing of ABB’s Power Grids unit: Reuters

Swiss power and automation group ABB should spin off and list its Power Grids unit, the head of activist fund Cevian, ABB’s second largest shareholder, said on Tuesday.

Earlier this year, Germany’s Manager Magazin reported that Cevian had hired consultants to study a potential break-up of the group.

ABB officials have said they oppose such a move.

“To spin off and list Power Grids is the only rational and logical business decision,” Cevian founder and managing partner Christer Gardell told the Svenska Dagbladet newspaper.

“Big companies that consist of separate operations like ABB are bureaucratic, slow and ineffective.”
Gardell said he wanted shares in Power Grids to be divided up among current owners.

He said an improvement in Power Grids’ results recently was not a reason to reject a spin-off.

“Furthermore, we don’t see any vital synergies in the current structure which cannot be dealt with by a cooperation agreement between Power Grids and the other units,” he said.

Cevian owns around 5.2 percent of ABB’s share capital and voting rights. ABB’s largest shareholder is Sweden’s Investor with a roughly 10 percent stake.