GE Expanding its Operations in Brazil

Nov. 12, 2010
New R&D center in Rio de Janeiro among the initiatives planned as part of $500 million investment.

General Electric Co. said it plans to invest $500 million to expand its operations in Brazil and to accelerate technology partnerships with leading Brazilian companies spanning multiple industries.

The announcement was made at a news conference in Rio de Janeiro, which was chosen as the home for GE's newest multi-disciplinary research and development Center.

The $100 million Brazil Global Research Center, which will be located on the Ilha do Bom Jesus peninsula, will employ 200 researchers and engineers. Work at the center will focus on advanced technologies for the oil and gas, renewable energy, mining, rail and aviation industries, according to the company.

"For 90 years we have formed strong relationships throughout Brazil with many trusted partners," said Ferdinando Beccalli-Falco, president and CEO of GE International. "As we look ahead, we see an even brighter future that requires aggressive investment, which will result in more innovation coming to market. Brazil offers GE some of the most sophisticated and aggressive customers in the world. The Brazil Global Research Center will be a hub for deepening relationships that will result in growth for GE, its customers and the country."

GE has had a presence in Brazil since 1919 and today employs more than 6,000 people in the country. The company has operations throughout the country, including Sao Paulo, Minas Gerais and Rio de Janeiro.

In addition to the new research center, GE said it plans to invest $400 million over the next three years in technology, training, new product development, new plant and equipment and human capital, including:

  • $200 million for new wind turbine and aero-derivative product developments and increased plant capacity for GE's Energy and Oil & Gas business.
  • Capacity expansions and new production facilities for GE's Healthcare and Transportation businesses, both in Contagem, Minas Gerais; GE Aviation in Petrpolis, Rio de Janeiro State and GE's Lighting businesses in a yet-to-be-determined location, totaling $200 million.
  • $50 million for training and development and the creation of a Global Learning Center to be co-located with the new Brazil GE Global Research Center.
  • The creation of 1,000 new GE jobs, spanning all of the company's businesses.
  • Development of new suppliers and partners for more robust, localized production capabilities.
"Brazil presents tremendous opportunity for growth and increased collaboration with our customers," said Mark Little, senior vice president of GE Global Research. "Over the past decade, GE Global Research has expanded our operations in the United States, Asia and Europe. This has allowed our researchers to more effectively collaborate with customers and other technologists around the world to speed the pace of innovation. The Brazil GE Global Research Center is an important part of that strategy." Following finalization of negotiations and architectural design work, construction of the Brazil GE Global Research Center complex should begin in mid-2011 and is targeted for completion in late 2012, according to GE.
About the Author

Josh Cable | Former Senior Editor

Former Senior Editor Josh Cable covered innovation issues -- including trends and best practices in R&D, process improvement and product development. He also reported on the best practices of the most successful companies and executives in the world of transportation manufacturing, which encompasses the aerospace, automotive, rail and shipbuilding sectors. 

Josh also led the IndustryWeek Manufacturing Hall of Fame, IW’s annual tribute to the most influential executives and thought leaders in U.S. manufacturing history.

Before joining IndustryWeek, Josh was the editor-in-chief of Penton Media’s Government Product News and Government Procurement. He also was an award-winning beat reporter for several small newspapers in Northeast Ohio.

Josh received his BFA in creative writing from Bowling Green University, and continued his professional development through course-work at Ohio University and Cuyahoga Community College.

A lifelong resident of the Buckeye State, Josh currently lives in the Tremont neighborhood of Cleveland. When the weather cooperates, you’ll find him riding his bike to work, exercising his green thumb in the backyard or playing ultimate Frisbee.  

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