GE Scores Another Energy Sector Takeover

Sept. 6, 2011
$3.2-billion Converteam takeover adds power-conversion specialties

General Electric Corp. has acquired Converteam for $3.2 billion, which runs GE’s string of takeovers in the industrial power-generation and delivery segment to an estimated $11 billion over the past nine months.

The GE Energy unit has completed takeovers of Dresser Inc., Wellstream Holdings plc, Lineage Power, and the John Wood Group plc Well Support division, as well as Converteam. Already, GE’s $30-billion energy-sector portfolio includes businesses that specialize in energy efficiency, electrification, and automation industry.

Converteam is a former Alstom business unit, based in France, that supplies drives and other power electronics, advanced rotating machines, generators, and controls that convert electricity to power/control mechanical systems in critical industrial processes, like natural-gas pipelines or compressors.

Noting the high volume of electricity used to power industrial motors, GE said Converteam’s high-efficiency products and systems are designed to reduce the electricity consumption of these motors, leading to savings in energy consumption of up to one-third, saving on costs, energy intensity, and greenhouse gas emissions.

Other applications include converting alternative energy (e.g., wind, thermal, or hydro power) into grid-compatible electricity; and adjusting electrical frequency for specific requirements (e.g., in solar-power inverters.)

“GE is thrilled by the growth opportunities that this acquisition brings,” according to John Krenicki, GE vice chairman and president and CEO of GE Energy. “GE will heavily invest in new product developments to further expand our offerings in core segments such as metals and marine, while addressing increasing demand for high-energy efficiency in oil and gas, thermal power generation and renewables.”

The Converteam management will retain a 10% share in the company.

“The complementary capabilities of GE and Converteam will create a winning platform for success,” stated Converteam president and CEO Pierre Bastid. “GE’s brand and reputation as an engineering and technology provider are unmatched. Converteam brings a team of experts with deep domain knowledge in power conversion, equipped with a strong entrepreneurial mindset and unique technological expertise aligned to customers’ needs.”

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