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EDITIONS
Wednesday, 23 October, 2002, 11:15 GMT 12:15 UK
'We won't fail,' says ABB chief
ABB Swiss staff
Troubled ABB employs 150,000 staff around the world
Shares in ABB have lost another 20% of their value, despite its boss denying that the Swiss-Swedish engineering giant was threatened with bankruptcy.

In an interview with a Swiss newspaper, chief executive Juergen Dormann admitted that one of its smaller units could be bankrupted by the wave of asbestos-related lawsuits it faces.

But he said the group as a whole was in no danger.

ABB's shares lost 60% of their value on Tuesday, after the firm scrapped its profit targets, amid mounting talk of a financial crisis.

Mr Dormann insisted that ABB was in no need of a fresh injection of cash, but said banks could assist in some sort of capital reorganisation.

"We have good contacts to our main banks," he said.

"They are accompanying ABB in a constructive manner and they will stand by us throughout this."

Tricky times

The share rout was the latest in a series of blows for ABB, until recently one of the world's most admired companies.

Juergen Dormann
Mr Dormann is the result of a board reshuffle

The firm narrowly escaped running out of cash in March and then lost its chief executive in early September.

Joergen Centerman's departure after just 18 months came supposedly because of disagreements with Mr Dormann.

Mr Dormann himself arrived early in 2002, following the retirement of his long-serving predecessor Percy Barnevik.

All eyes are now on ABB's third-quarter results statement, which is due out on Thursday.

Few observers expect the briefing to contain any serious encouragement for investors, since the company has warned that sales in July-September were weaker than expected.

ABB, which employs some 150,000 people in 100 countries, now sees no hope of a turnaround before next summer.

ABB shares slid a further 14% on Wednesday to stand at 1.75 Swiss francs in lunchtime trade.

See also:

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