ABB raises 2021 guidance as customers rebuild inventories

The logo of Hitachi ABB is seen at an office building in Zurich, Switzerland September 10, 2020. Picture taken September 10, 2020. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

ZURICH (Reuters) - ABB raised its full year sales outlook on Thursday, saying it expects to increase its revenues by around 5% or more on a like-for-like basis, citing a strong demand especially towards the end of March.

The maker of industrial robots, drives and motors, said its first quarter revenues had risen by 11% to $6.90 billion from $6.22 billion a year earlier, as customers rebuilt their inventories and customers in the commodities sectors reinvested in equipment.

On a like-for-like basis, which excludes the impact of currency swings, ABB's revenues increased by 7%. The company had previously guided for a full year increase in line with its long term goal of a 3% to 5% increase.

The engineering company also reported first quarter orders rising 1% to $7.75 billion, while its operational profit margin (EBITA) increased to 13.5% from 10.2% a year earlier.

"Quarterly demand is likely to have been supported by customer stock-building activities related to both component availability constraints and rising commodity prices in the industry," ABB said.

ABB said it expects a recovery in the process industries, which include oil and gas, in the second half of the year. The company is due to report its first quarter figures on April 27.

(Reporting by John Revill; editing by Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi)

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