Swiss electronics giant

ABB Ltd.

(ABB) - Get Report

doubled the amount of money it set aside to cover its potential asbestos liability, sending its shares down almost 10% in Europe.

The Zurich-based company has now set aside $940 million to cover asbestos suits brought against a former unit that used the carcinogen in fire-proofing materials. The increased reserves resulted in the company's first-ever annual loss.

ABB said it paid out $136 million to settle 27,000 suits last year, as the number of unresolved claims swelled by a third. Some analysts have put the company's potential liability at close to $3 billion.

Earlier this month, Austria's

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RHI AG

, the biggest maker of fire-proofing materials, said it expects a $752 million loss amid "soaring" asbestos claims. The company is selling all its U.S. units. Asbestos concerns have also dragged down the share prices of several U.S. companies of late, among them

Haliburton

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and

Dow Chemical

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.