The expansion of the Zurich-based ABB Group into diverse areas of global business, particularly oil and gas and petrochemicals, has moved a step forward following two recent announcements.

On 13 September, the company said it is to acquire the French software company Cellier Group, a unit of France’s Groupe ICBT. Cellier designs and installs industrial process and control systems and production units for the paper, paints, lubricants, oil and chemicals industries.

ABB says it is particularly interested in Cellier ‘s open communications software which enables the linking of control systems produced by different companies.

ABB says it plans to market Cellier ‘s engineering expertise internationally.

The previous day, ABB said that it intends to become a strategic investor in the initial public offering (IPO) of China’s largest refiner, Sinopec Corporation. ABB, which plans to invest $100 million in Sinopec, will join several other multinational companies which are already strategic investors. Sinopec has upstream, midstream and downstream operations. It has a 50 per cent market share in the processing of local crude oil throughput, and is the largest chemicals producer in China. The company is expected to invest some $5,000 million in areas related to ABB’s business capabilities over the next three years.