MERGERS: Hooking Up the High Voltage

Hooking Up the High Voltage

Ordinarily it takes decades to build an industrial behemoth on the scale of General Electric, West Germany's Siemens or Japan's Hitachi, but last week a world-class electrical-engineering giant was born practically overnight. In a surprise strategic move, two smaller European competitors -- Switzerland's Brown, Boveri and Sweden's ASEA -- announced a plan to merge their main operating divisions into a joint venture that would boast annual sales of more than $15 billion and employ some 160,000 workers. The new ASEA Brown Boveri should be a potent competitor in the global market for heavy electrical products, among them generating plants, high-speed trains...