GE Infrastructure Sees Strong Growth

Company predicts 15-20% growth and sees great opportunities in Asia.

GE Infrastructure, a unit of General Electric, on June 23 said its business growth forecast of 15 % to 20% for 2008 is on track, despite the weak global economy. It also said it will acquire companies related to energy, aviation and water treatment to boost its product services worldwide.

"We see great growth opportunities in the region (Asia) and Malaysia. We expect this to continue," John Rice, chief executive of GE Infrastructure, said. "Of course in infrastructure, we maintain the (business) growth forecast of 15% to 20% this year globally, and Asia will be on the high end of this," he added. Rice was in Malaysia to announce a five million dollar investment to expand GE's plant, which repairs and overhauls aircraft engines.

He said the company's aviation business had not been affected by the downturn in the aviation industry caused by soaring oil prices. "Both Boeing and Airbus have a backlog on aircraft orders. Demand for new engines is secure," Rice said.

In Southeast Asia, infrastructure represents 40% of total GE revenue, and grew by 30% in 2007. Malaysia is the biggest market in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations for infrastructure.

In April, GE said its infrastructure division, which makes wind turbines, jet engines and locomotives, saw operating profits rise 17% to $2.6 billion as revenues grew 23%.

Rice said despite rising inflation and a slowdown in the global economy, demand for GE products and services remained strong, particularly from emerging economies like China and India. "We see healthy demand in our infrastructure projects," he said, adding that GE Infrastructure was gearing to expand its water business, which is currently less than five percent. "But revenue is in the billions. It is a significant business. Over the last six years, we have invested four billion dollars, mostly in the form of acquisitions, to build our capability," he said.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2008

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