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April 27, 2021, 1:09 a.m. EDT

ABB posts profit gain, but cautious outlook

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By Mauro Orru

ABB Ltd. said Tuesday that net profit for the first quarter increased but struck a cautious tone on the second quarter as it expects growth rates to reflect the low levels of business activity in the second quarter of 2020.

The Swiss engineering company said quarterly net profit rose to $502 million from $376 million, below expectations of $541 million from analysts polled by FactSet.

ABB confirmed that its closely-watched operational earnings before interest, taxes and amortization----an adjusted metric that measures income from operations--climbed to $959 million from $636 million, with a corresponding margin of 13.8%.

The company said earlier this month that its first-quarter operational Ebita margin would rise to about 13.5% from 10.2%.

First-quarter revenue rose to $6.90 billion from $6.22 billion on year as preannounced, while orders increased to $7.76 billion from $7.35 billion.

ABB said comparable orders and revenue for the second quarter should grow more than 10%, with orders growing more than revenues.

It also expects the operational Ebita margin to significantly improve on year to around 14%.

For the year, ABB said it continues to expect comparable revenue growth of around 5% or higher.

Write to Mauro Orru at mauro.orru@wsj.com; @MauroOrru94

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