GE sees 'tremendous' opportunities in MidEast across sectors

GE recently signed memorandums of understanding in Saudi Arabia worth $15 billion across power, health care, oil and gas, and mining sectors
(LOIC VENANCE/AFP/Getty Images)
By Abdul Rawuf
Sun 18 Jun 2017 12:35 PM

General Electric is looking at more opportunities to invest in transportation in the Middle East and Africa after signing a $575 million railway deal in Egypt Saturday, as it sees orders from the region expanding across its businesses from aviation to healthcare.

The company is interested in railway opportunities in Turkey and Algeria as well as the next phase of Egypt’s transport expansion, John Rice, GE’s vice chairman, said in an phone interview from Cairo. It has "active tenders under discussion" in several countries and Saturday signed a letter of intent with Egypt to supply 100 Light Evolution Series locomotives to be used for either passengers or freight.

GE’s investments in the Middle East range from aviation to transport, through healthcare, oil and gas, with regional orders growing at double-digit rates in recent years.

In 2016, the company’s business in the region reached $15 billion and GE expects total orders from the area to grow 5 percent to 10 percent over the next three to five years, or $1 billion to $1.5 billion on average each year.

During President Donald Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia in May, GE signed memorandums of understanding worth $15 billion across power, healthcare, oil and gas, and mining sectors.

"Demand for infrastructure continues unabated, the region is shifting to renewables, which is becoming more and more important, and health care is significant," said Rice, who is also president and chief executive officer of GE Global Growth Organisation.

"We see tremendous opportunities for growth and we don’t expect that to change."

GE will finance the Egypt deal with the help of Canada’s export-credit agency Export Development Canada, Rice said, calling the agreement a "great opportunity for GE" and "evidence that Egypt is open for business."

The deal includes a 15-year agreement for supplying parts and technical support for the Egyptian National Railways’ new and existing fleet. Egyptian railways currently has about 80 GE locomotives.

The company expects its international business outside the U.S. to grow in double digits this year, Rice said.

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