ABB, Investor Launch European B2B Company

ABB Ltd. and Swedish holding company Investor launched a new European company
called b-business partners, capitalized at more than 1 billion Euros and
aimed at investing in and developing business-to-business e-commerce
companies across Europe.


The new company also aims to forge closer links between “new economy” and
traditional enterprises.


ABB and Investor each will contribute 300 million Euros in initial capital.
SEB, a European leader in Internet banking, will contribute Euro 50 million.
Additional partners include AstraZeneca, Atlas Copco, Electrolux, Saab
(aerospace), Sandvik, StoraEnso and
WM-data.


b-business partners said it will cultivate the companies in its portfolio,
providing support for sourcing and distribution, sharing technologies and
business models, and acting as
a hands-on adviser. The partners intend to float b-business partners in an
initial public offering within the next three years.


“The launch of b-business partners reaffirms the commitment Investor has made
to invest in companies that are ready to rise to the challenge and reap the
benefits of this new economy,” said Marcus Wallenberg, chief executive officer of Investor AB.
“This is the first time large
industrial and service corporations have created an investment base
exclusively for B2B start-ups in Europe.”


ABB said participation in b-business partners is part of its strategy to
become a leader in the new economy. ABB already has key IT-driven activities
— such as industrial IT solutions for automation and process control
systems, the ABB eBusiness Web site, ABB’s IT offerings for intelligent
buildings and its new business to build broadband networks in Europe.


The member companies in b-business aim to build broader business
relationships, as customers or suppliers, to the e-B2B companies selected for
venture capital support. In addition, b-business partners will finance new
start-ups for development.


b-business partners will be incorporated in the Netherlands.


ABB is a global company serving customers in power transmission and
distribution; automation; oil, gas, and petrochemicals; building
technologies, and in financial services. The ABB Group employs about 165,000
people in more than 100 countries.

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