GE unveils growth strategy for Saudi Arabia with focus on public-private partnerships

Published May 31st, 2007 - 01:15 GMT

John Rice, Vice Chairman of GE and President & CEO of GE Infrastructure, today, presented the company’s growth strategies for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia at a presentation held at King Abdullah Economic City, the single largest private sector-led development in the region, which has the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) as its prime facilitator.

Addressing a team of international media, and attended by SAGIA officials, Rice explained the strategic role GE can play in the overall development of the Kingdom through its technological advances in varied sectors including oil & gas, energy, infrastructure support, healthcare and education. King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) has six key growth components including a sea port, industrial zone, central business district, educational zone, resort zone and residential communities that has the potential to attract foreign investment, in line with SAGIA’s initiatives to promote the Kingdom as an investment hub in the region.

GE is focusing its growth strategies in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia through effective public and private partnerships in high-growth areas, and is prioritizing overall social development through value-added initiatives.

A key market in the Middle East and Africa region for GE, Saudi Arabia will be a pivotal country for the company’s growth strategies that are aimed at an annual average growth rate of 20 per cent through 2010. Saudi Arabia already generates over US$1 billion to GE revenues from the region.

“GE’s existing portfolio of businesses synergizes effectively with the Kingdom’s economic profile, led principally by the petrochemical industry, but now focused on non-oil led growth,” said Rice. “GE’s businesses power the oil & gas and energy sectors in Saudi Arabia and also contribute to such vital growth sectors as healthcare, aviation, water and process technologies, and commercial and industrial construction.”

Nabil Habayeb, GE’s President and Chief Executive Officer for the Middle East and Africa region, added: “We are focused on building long-lasting partnerships with the public and private sector through joint ventures and manufacturing facilities, and by providing focused training solutions in the company’s core competencies. This is a reiteration of GE’s localization initiatives, to have a stronger component of Saudi workforce by creating more employment opportunities and transfer knowledge and expertise to them.”



With offices in Riyadh, Jeddah and Eastern Province, Saudi Arabia makes up the largest GE workforce in the region with more than 600 employees. Saudi nationals enjoy leadership positions in each GE business, and GE offers them extensive technical and management training to help them take the company forward.

“Highlighting our focus on strategic partnerships, GE has formed strategic joint ventures in the region two of them in Saudi Arabia with Ali A Tamimi company – the Middle East Engineering Ltd (MEELSA) and Middle East Power Company Limited (MEPCO) in Saudi Arabia,” said Habayeb. “The MEELSA workshop has been operational since 1976, and we are working with authorities to further our investment and make MEELSA a state-of-the-art repair and training centre to serve the needs of Saudi Arabia and the region, ” explained Rice.

MEELSA is regarded as a Centre of Excellence for generator manufacture and undertakes balance of plan electromechanical repairs and provided field service capabilities. MEPCO manufactures standard and DLN (Dry Low NOx) fuel delivery systems, chemical dosing skids and reverse osmosis skids and also undertakes pipe fabrication.

The rapidly growing population and fast economic growth puts pressure on Saudi Arabia’s energy sector. Demand for electricity in the Kingdom is increasing at the rate of seven per cent per annum. Saudi Arabian Ministry of Industry and Electricity estimates that the Kingdom will require up to 20 gigawatts of additional power generating capacity by 2019.

“To streamline energy needs for the region, GE Energy plans to open power generation project offices in Riyadh and Dammam, which will serve as a hub to co-ordinate project management activities across the Middle East, where GE already has project commitments worth over US$4 billion,” said Rice.

GE’s Gas Turbine technology is already well-established in the Kingdom with over 350 machines installed in key locations. GE Energy has signed an agreement of expected value of over US$1 billion for the Marafiq power generation and water desalination project, located in Jubail Industrial City of Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province.

GE also entered into a second project agreement for the Riyadh Power Plant No. 9 with Saudi Electricity Company, and has signed three contracts with Saudi Electricity Company valued at over US$950 million for the Qurayyah, Faras and Riyadh Power Plant No. 8 Extension projects in Saudi Arabia.

In addition, Saudi Arabia is a key market for GE C&I, where it manages a specialist network of components and equipment distribution houses for Industrial and commercial construction throughout the Kingdom. “GE C&I is localizing products like Uninterruptible Power Supply and electrical switch gear with key partners and evaluating further growth opportunities for lighting and motors,” said Rice.

In the Oil & Gas sector, GE continues its lead in delivering cutting edge technology that enhances efficiency. Saudi Aramco has selected GE Oil & Gas to supply gas turbines to the Southern Area seawater capacity expansion project in Ghawar - the world’s largest oil field - and the Khurais oil field.

GE Sensing and the Tamimi Group are partnering together to form Saudi Arabian Sensing Solutions Co. (SASSCO), which will serve Saudi Arabia and is a further demonstration of GE’s commitment to on-going, significant investment in the Kingdom.

SASSCO is on schedule to unveil its first dedicated calibration, repair and training centre in the Middle East, when its new service centre opens in September 2007. The facility will offer state-of-the-art calibration equipment for pressure and moisture sensors, and will be the only resource in the region capable of calibrating the Panametrics range of moisture meters.

On the healthcare front, Saudi Arabia is the largest market in the region with an estimated population of over 27 million. The Kingdom’s population is characterised by a rapid growth of 2.18 per cent with a birth rate of 29.56 per 1,000 population, and a burgeoning segment of youngsters. Of the total population, only 2.4 per cent are 65 years and over; 59.4 per cent are in the age bracket of 15 to 64 years; and 38.2 per cent form the 0 to 14 years age group.

To meet the growing needs in the healthcare sector, GE has undertaken several proactive initiatives. GE Healthcare has invested several millions of dollars in the Kingdom in three strategic country service support centers in Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam. These are managed by over 150 talented and skilled local professionals, which underscores our commitment to the Kingdom’s localization initiatives.

GE Healthcare is also opening a manufacturing facility in Saudi Arabia, which will be focused on manufacturing innovative diagnostic imaging systems to meet the growing demand for modern healthcare equipment regionally. In another landmark initiative, GE Healthcare has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Health to train more than 1,000 Saudi healthcare professionals annually.

Saudi Arabia is taking concerted efforts to meet the water needs of a growing population. Compared to other countries, Saudi Arabia has limited sources of water supply, and it is imperative that the Kingdom take measures to tap whatever available source and convert it to potable water.

“To help the Kingdom meet these needs, GE’s Water and Process Technologies has joined hands with Ali A. Tamimi Co. to set up a specialty chemicals blending unit based in Dammam. GE has also agreed to a US$20 million deal to supply mobile water treatment equipment to Al Tamimi Group. The equipment will enable Al Tamimi to quickly provide temporary or emergency water filtration equipment to municipal and industrial clients in Saudi Arabia and across the region,” Rice added.

“Through our diverse businesses, GE makes a meaningful contribution to Saudi Arabia – both in the economic front and in fostering social development by supporting healthcare and education initiatives,” concluded Habayeb.
About GE:
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



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