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ABB, the Swiss-based power and automation giant, is headed for another year of bumper orders in Brazil on the back of an expanding economy and tame inflation.


“Absolutely,” answers Carlos Hohl, institution relations director at ABB in Brazil, when asked if this is the best moment ever for ABB in Latin America’s largest economy. The company grew on average 20% per year in the last three years, Hohl says, and had record sales of R1.3bn in Brazil in 2006.


New investments in the process and manufacturing industries, which are leading to fresh projects, have been the catalyst for ABB’s success. Automation and power projects each clinched 50% of orders.


On the energy side, Brazil will have to make substantial investments in power generation and transmission to underpin the growth of the GDP that is expected in the next few years, Hohl says. As for automation, there is a continuous need for improvement in productivity to head off global competition, he comments.


“We expect that investment in mining, pulp and paper, and oil and gas will continue in the coming years,” Hohl predicts. The ongoing surge in commodity prices “has been an important driver for the new investments in pulp and paper, mining, aluminium, steel and other base industries in the country,”


Brazil still needs labour, fiscal and tributary reforms to improve competitiveness, Hohl asserts. “Energy can also be a problem should the new investments be delayed.” he says.