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GE pays $3.2bn for 90% of Converteam

02 April, 2011

General Electric is paying $3.2bn to acquire a 90% stake in Converteam, the supplier of automation and electrification equipment and systems, including medium-voltage drives and advanced rotating machines. Converteam’s senior management will keep a 10% stake in the company, which GE may buy from them in the next two to five years.

The acquisition will add significantly to GE’s capabilities in power electronics, industrial automation and process controls, and help it to expand in rapidly-growing sectors that demand high energy efficiency, such as renewable power generation, and oil and gas.

Converteam, whose headquarters are in France, operates in six sectors including industrial, renewable energy, marine, power generation, and oil and gas. It has 5,300 employees, 1,500 of them based in the UK where Converteam has its headquarters in Rugby (shown above), as well as manufacturing facilities in Glasgow and Kidsgrove, where it produces drives and switchboards. There is also a centre in Whetstone for testing power and propulsion systems.

Last year, Converteam achieved sales worth around $1.5bn and recorded a 36% growth in orders over 2009. The markets that it targets are estimated to be worth more than $30bn and are growing faster than global GDP.

Converteam’s technologies include high-efficiency systems for reducing the electricity consumption of rotating machines by almost a third.

Before 2006, Converteam was known as Alstom Power Conversion, and it can trace its history back to companies such as GEC, CGE, AEG, Westinghouse Drives and Cegelec.

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