Special Coverage

ABB acquires B&R Automation

Acquisition to combine B&R's products and software for modern machine and factory automation with ABB’s robotics, process automation, digitalization and electrification.
By · May 17, 2017

ABB has announced the acquisition of B&R, an independent provider focused on product- and software- based, open-architecture solutions for machine and factory automation worldwide.

Founded in 1979 by Erwin Bernecker and Josef Rainer, B&R is headquartered in Eggelsberg, Austria, and employs more than 3,000 people, including about 1,000 R&D and application engineers. It operates across 70 countries, generating sales of more than $600 million (2015/16) in the $20 billion machine and factory automation market segment.

The acquisition is intended to pair B&R’s products, software and solutions for modern machine and factory automation with ABB’s offering in robotics, process automation, digitalization and electrification.

Through the acquisition, ABB expands its leadership in industrial automation and will be uniquely positioned to seize growth opportunities resulting from the Fourth Industrial Revolution. In addition, ABB takes a major step in expanding its digital offering by combining its portfolio of digital solutions, ABB Ability, with B&R’s application and software platforms, its large installed base, customer access and tailored automation solutions.

With the acquisition, ABB will expand its industrial automation offering by integrating B&R’s products in PLC, Industrial PCs and servo motion as well as its software and solution suite. ABB will offer its customers an open-architecture automation portfolio.

B&R has grown successfully with a revenue CAGR of 11 % over the last two decades. Revenues more than quintupled since 2000 to more than $600 million (2015/16). The company has a global customer base of more than 4,000 machine manufacturers, a track record in automation software and solutions and application expertise for customers in the machine and factory automation market segment.

Both companies have complementary portfolios. ABB is a provider of solutions serving customers in utilities, industry and transport & infrastructure. B&R is a solution provider in the automation of machines and factories for industries such as plastics, packaging, food and beverage. The joint commitment to open architecture increases customer choice and flexibility facilitating connectivity in increasingly digitalized industries.

On closing of the transaction, B&R will become part of ABB’s Industrial Automation division as a global business unit – Machine & Factory Automation – headed by the current managing director, Hans Wimmer. The co-founders of B&R, Erwin Bernecker and Josef Rainer, will act as advisors during the integration phase to ensure continuity. B&R’s headquarters in Eggelsberg will become ABB’s global center for machine and factory automation.