A press release said that the sale of the plant is in line with ABB’s Next Level strategy to continuously optimize its business portfolio. The 240,000-sq-ft plant produces high-voltage and extra-high-voltage underground transmission cables, ranging from 230kV to 400kV. ABB noted that it will continue to produce high-voltage land and subsea cables from its manufacturing facility in Karlskrona, Sweden. ABB and Southwire will also pursue a business partnership to leverage the facility for the land cable portion of certain HVDC projects.
“We remain fully committed to the North American market and to the high-voltage cables business. The decision to divest this factory is in line with our Next Level strategy and focus on optimizing our operations, exploring new business models and building partnerships,” said Claudio Facchin, president of ABB’s Power Systems division. “We are pleased that the Huntersville facility will be in the hands of Southwire, a well-established, innovation-focused company and look forward to building on our new business relationship.”
Per a past ABB release, the company opened the $90 million plant, designed to have some 130 employees, in 2012. The high-voltage cable production was to target markets that include wind and solar installations. “The plant has a distinctive 131 meter extrusion tower, built to allow the insulation material to cool symmetrically around the metal cable conductor. It is ABB’s first high-voltage cable plant outside Europe, and will manufacture high-voltage transmission cables for both AC and DC applications.”
The acquisition, which is expected to close in the third quarter, results in Southwire adding extra high-voltage cable products to its portfolio and expands its capacity to produce high-voltage cable, a market in which the company notes it is already a leading manufacturer.“We are committed to growing in the global wire and cable market. Today, we take another step toward that goal as we further expand our manufacturing capacity and expand our lineup of products that are made in America for new and existing customers, both here and around the world,” Southwire President and CEO Stu Thorn said. “In addition, today’s agreement paves the way for us to develop a strategic relationship with a global company like ABB, a recognized leader in power and automation technologies.”
Located on a 20-acre site in Commerce Station Business Park, the Huntersville plant fits nicely with Southwire’s family of manufacturing facilities and customer service centers in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Honduras and China, the Southwire release said. “Southwire is a U.S.-based manufacturer expanding on U.S. soil,” Thorn said. “We are building a business that will be sustainable into future generations by continually evolving to meet the changing needs of our industry.”