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ABB to buy back up to 10% of its shares after completing Power Grids sale

Logo of Swiss power technology and automation group ABB is seen at the Swiss Economic Forum conference in Interlaken

ZURICH (Reuters) - ABB Ltd <ABBN.S> plans to buy back up to 10% its stock after releasing second-quarter results, it said on Wednesday while announcing it had completed the sale of its Power Grids business to Hitachi Ltd <6501.T>.

The Swiss engineering group will ask shareholders at the 2021 annual meeting to approve cancelling the stock it buys back via a second trading line, it added in a statement.

It will get net cash proceeds of $7.6–7.8 billion from the sale of an 80.1% stake in Power Grids, which it completed as planned by the end of June.

ABB's shares, which have lost nearly 9% this year, were up more than 2% after the announcement. Around 180 million shares would be covered by the buyback, ABB said.

New Chief Executive Bjorn Rosengren said the sale meant ABB was now able to focus more on industrial customers and implementing a decentralised business model.

ABB, which makes products ranging from factory robots to electric vehicle chargers, will keep a 19.9% holding in Power Grids, a business with revenues of $10 billion and 36,000 employees. The Swiss company has a predefined option to exit its stake in three years time.

(Reporting by Michael Shields, editing by Louise Heavens)