General Electric (GE), the US$ 163 billion, diversified technology, media and financial services company, is consolidating its Middle East business with several growth initiatives, which were highlighted during the visit of GE’s Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, Jeffrey Immelt, to the region.
“GE’s new initiatives complement the company’s already strong involvement in the region in sectors as wide-ranging as infrastructure, aviation, oil and gas and healthcare,” said Immelt. “Our strategy will strengthen existing businesses and also add on new growth areas such as consumer finance.”
“GE’s Middle East and Africa operations amounted to US$5.5 billion in revenue in 2006, a growth of 32 per cent from US$4.2 billion in 2005. The Middle East region has traditionally been a strong market for GE Infrastructure and GE Healthcare, both of which have contributed an impressive 34 per cent and 29 percent growth in revenues respectively,” said Nabil Habayeb, President and CEO, Middle East & Africa.
Immelt’s regional tour kicked off in Dubai with the inauguration of GE’s new headquarters based in Dubai Internet City. “Our new headquarters is a significant testimony to our commitment to the region, and aims to bring GE’s various businesses under one roof,” added Habayeb.
In a landmark move, GE Healthcare unveiled plans to open a manufacturing facility in Saudi Arabia. GE Healthcare will focus on manufacturing innovative diagnostic imaging systems to meet the growing demand for modern healthcare equipment regionally. The GE Healthcare facility, the first for the business in the region, will add new production capabilities which will help support the transformation of health care delivery in the region.
Further localization plans for the Kingdom include GE’s joint venture with Ali A. Tamimi Co. for the Water and Process Technologies business to set up a specialty chemicals blending unit based in Dammam. The facility will manufacture chemical additives and products that will contribute to asset protection and management by inhibiting losses attributed to corrosion and scale of critical components. Moreover, it will feature a laboratory and training capabilities.
In other growth plans, GE Money, the global consumer-lending unit of the company, signed a joint venture with the UAE-based Al Futtaim Group to form a new company that will roll out several consumer finance products including auto and personal loans, leases, sales finance, bank cards and insurance.
In addition, GE and Mubadala Development Company, the wholly owned investment arm of the Abu Dhabi government, rolled out the first executive training program which was attended by more than 20 young Arab CEOs. The executive training program focused on advanced management, strategic thinking, operational excellence and actively engaging case studies.
“The Middle East region has all the key growth drivers that are favourable for the growth of GE businesses,” said Mr Immelt. “The demand for advanced infrastructure, favourable demographics and concern for environmentally friendly technologies complement GE’s offerings in terms of advanced technologies and solutions. Our ecomagination initiative – of providing efficient energy sources and cost-effective technologies that are safe to customers – has been well received in the region.”
He added: “We continue to execute on our strategy to invest in leadership businesses. Our focus remains on building faster growth, higher margin businesses. Since the beginning of the year, we have announced US$15 billion of acquisitions in fast growth platforms in Oil & Gas, Healthcare and Aviation – three key sectors for the Middle East region.”
“From education and training to hands-on involvement in infrastructure projects, GE has strong links with the regional economies,” concluded Habayeb. “We are already one of the region’s leading employers with more than 1,900 professionals working on our various businesses. Our new initiatives will further strengthen our involvement with regional economies and offer new platforms for growth.”
GE (NYSE: GE) is Imagination at Work -- a diversified technology, media and financial services company focused on solving some of the world’s toughest problems. With products and services ranging from aircraft engines, power generation, water processing and security technology to medical imaging, business and consumer financing, media content and advanced materials, GE serves customers in more than 100 countries and employs more than 300,000 people worldwide. For more information, visit the company's web site at www.ge.com.
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