Swiss engineer puts M&E contractor ABB Building Systems up for sale to concentrate on the power industry.
ABB Building Systems, one of the UK's 10 largest M&E firms, has been put up for sale by its Swiss parent.

ABB said the sale of the M&E contractor would allow it to focus on its core business in the power and automation industries.

Building revealed in February that the firm had cut 200 staff at its UK contracting arm, then called ABB Technologies. This was part of a global shake-up, in which ABB Technologies was merged into ABB's consumer/manufacturing sector and rebranded as ABB Building Systems.

ABB chief executive Jörgen Centerman said the decision was not unexpected and freed up Building Systems to consolidate and build on its expertise and reputation.

He said: "Building Systems is still within the ABB organisation yet ready and willing to meet a suitable, like-minded suitor."

ABB Building Systems' UK managing director Garry Metcalfe said customer contracts would remain unchanged and future contracts would be fulfilled within the ABB organisation.

He said the move provides an opportunity to place the business on an entirely new footing.

One rival contractor said there has been a scramble to pick up ABB contracts ever since news broke earlier in the year that staff were to be shed from the UK division.

He said: "It is likely the major M&E contractors will try to buy the larger ABB Building Systems contracts but would not try to buy the group as a whole."

ABB's decision to restructure its specialist contracting division was triggered after losses on key contracts and the tight profit margins in the M&E sector.

A new management team was put in to run the contracting arm and some of the group's smaller UK offices were closed. ABB also made job cuts at its Birmingham headquarters.

ABB Building Systems' core interests include mechanical and electrical installation, specialist heating ventilation and air-conditioning systems, building services and facilities management, and voice and data communications.