General Electric to invest $200 million in India

March 14th, 2011 - 5:19 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack Obama New Delhi, March 14 (IANS) General Electric will invest $200 million in India to manufacture energy equipment providing jobs to over 3,000 people, even as it is also looking at some other businesses here such as making locomotives, chief executive Jeffery Immelt said Monday.

“Within the next quarter or 90 days or so, we will announce the facility. Construction work would start in the second quarter,” Immelt, here on a visit to explore and expand the group’s business in India, said during an interaction with journalists.

“Initially we will invest $50 million for setting up the facility. I think the total investment will be $200 million including post-expansion. The company will take a call in the next 3-6 months,” the chief executive added.

“Our energy business will be the principal user. It will create upward of 3,000 jobs,” said Immelt, recently named chief of US President Barack Obama’s employment and competitiveness council.

The General Electric chief executive is also here specifically to attend a meeting of the group’s corporate executive council which includes its 40 top strategic leaders drawn from its global operations. It normally interacts in the US every quarter.

“This is the first corporate executive council meeting being held outside the US in General Electric’s history and is indicative of India’s importance to its long-term growth plans,” said a statement by the group.

General Electric, which started operations in India over a century ago in 1902, already has a major presence in the country, including technology centres at Hyderabad and Bangalore. The company employs some 13,000 people in India and exports goods worth $1 billion.

Immelt said that GE had also been looking at making locomotives in India for a long time but was unable to make a breakthrough. “To not even have a chance to bid is frustrating. But we are still hopeful someday we will be able to make locos here,” he said.

“We have invested for a long period of time for the opportunity to successfully bid on a competitive basis to modernize the railways of India - it is extremely important to us that that investment gets made.”

He said he was also quite sure that investments on locomotives will fructify during his tenure at the helm of General Electric. “If not, my own self-worth would be diminished immensely,” he said, adding: “I would like that on the record.”

The group’s interests in India span appliances, aviation, consumer electronics, power distribution, financial services, lighting, oil and gas, rail equipment and services, water management and office automation.

Immelt also said that he has been visiting India for over 25 years now and was particularly optimistic about the opportunities the country provided in other areas such as healthcare, infrastructure, aviation and transportation.

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