February 3, 2023
Exit From Emergency: ABB to Divest Emergency Lighting Business
Emergi-Lite and Lightalarms are among the brands slated to spin off in 2023
Swiss-based ABB, the company formerly known as ASEA Brown Boveri, announced yesterday that it will be shedding its emergency lighting business. ABB is a technology leader in electrification and automation and globally, ABB generated over $29 billion in sales during 2022, while the global emergency business produced $160 million.
When ABB acquired Thomas & Betts in 2012, the company inherited a comprehensive portfolio of emergency lighting brands throughout the world. Today, the ABB emergency lighting solutions include U.S. brands like Emergi-Lite and Lightalarms as well as Canadian brands like Lumacell and Ready-Lite. The Emergi-Lite brand goes to market in other regions including Canada, United Kingdom, Middle East and Asia while VanLien, Kaufel and ABB-branded emergency lighting products are sold throughout other parts of Europe.
As part of its full-year 2022 and fourth quarter earnings announcement yesterday, ABB announced its decision to initiate the exit of the emergency lighting business within the Smart Buildings division in the Electrification business area during 2023. The company also reported revenues $29.4 billion, a comparable sales increase of 12% versus 2021.
An excerpt from ABB’s announcement:
We reached out to ABB for comment and a spokesperson added that “the goal is to divest during 2023.”
According to ABB, the U.S. represents the company's largest single growth market, having invested more than $14 billion in the U.S. since 2010. ABB’s U.S. operations are headquartered in Cary, North Carolina, and employ about 20,000 people in 100 communities in 25 states.
As lighting people know, emergency lighting products are often market-focused on particular global regions as the “running man” icon on some country’s exit signs are not compliant with “EXIT”, “SALIDA” or “SORTIE” building codes in other countries. Things can get even more specialized like in Chicago and New York City where Lightalarms offers products that meet unique building codes in those cities. We imagine that the $160 million business may be sold off in parts unless it can find another global-market company that sees value in purchasing the entire business.
Emergi-Lite and Lightalarms are well-respected U.S. brands will a long heritage and loyal customer following. The next chapter for the brands will be under new ownership, but we expect the brands to continue to deliver relevant products and services to customers throughout the market.