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ABB Plans $4 Billion Buyback to Return Disposals Cash

ABB Ltd. (ABBN) unexpectedly announced a $4 billion share buyback as Chief Executive Officer Ulrich Spiesshofer seeks to boost shareholder returns at the world’s biggest maker of power grids.

The move will hand investors some cash from recent disposals, the CEO of the Swiss maker of robots and power transformers said in a statement today. The stock gained as much as 2.9 percent in Swiss trading today.

Spiesshofer, who replaced Joe Hogan in September 2013, has spent his first year crafting a strategy for the Zurich-based company and selling smaller units. The disposal of businesses making tubular steel structures for electricity transmission and industrial heaters and ventilators raised about $1 billion in the last year.