Swiss electronics giant

ABB Ltd.

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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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