Orders were two percent higher for the first three months of the year, despite an already high base of comparison in 2011. The group's Americas region posted a jump of 27 percent amid a large US power equipment order.
Asian orders were however down, particularly in China mainly due to a strong first quarter in 2011 when orders worth over $300 million were booked.
Overall, group revenues rose eight percent while order backlog reached a near-record $29.9 billion.
ABB chief executive Joe Hogan said the results underlined the group's resilience and that its diverse geographic scope helped ABB overcome macroeconomic uncertainty in many markets.
"We saw improved profitability in several businesses compared to the end of last year, and we intend to build on that momentum to tap the many opportunities we see for profitable growth over the rest of the year," he added.
Nevertheless, ABB pointed out concerns in several of its markets, including Europe which is suffering from a public debt crisis.
Demand in China's construction and transportation sectors were also at low levels, "and it is unclear when this demand will recover."