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GE to Invest in Brazil for Accelerated Growth

Source: 11/10/2010, Location: South America

General Electric Company announced that it plans to invest $500 million (USD) to expand its operations in Brazil and to accelerate technology partnerships with leading Brazilian companies spanning multiple industries. The announcement was made this morning 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 will be located on the Ilha do Bom Jesus peninsula and, when fully operational, will employ 200 researchers and engineers. Work at the center will focus on advanced technologies for the oil & gas, renewable energy, mining, rail and aviation industries.

“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 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 aeroderivative 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 Petr?polis, 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 collocated 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
Mark Little, Senior Vice President of GE Global Research, said, “Brazil presents tremendous opportunity for growth and increased collaboration with our customers. 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.”

In addition to lab space, offices and conference facilities, the 140,000 square foot Center will include a GE Global Learning facility, where GE employees from Latin America will join senior leaders from industry, academia and government to learn and share best practices.

Following finalization of negotiations and architectural design work, construction of the complex should begin in mid 2011 and is targeted for completion in late 2012. The decision to locate the Global Research Center in Rio de Janeiro was made following a thorough site evaluation process that involved input from customers, university partners and government officials. GE selected the Ilha do Bom Jesus location for its available space and because of the efforts of Mayor Eduardo Paes.

Mayor Paes said, “GE’s first facility in Brazil was located in Rio de Janeiro and we are very honored that GE has chosen our city as the home of its new Global Research Center. Innovation and technology development are an important part of the city’s plans for future job expansion and economic growth.”

Sérgio de Oliveira Cabral Santos Filho, Governor of the state of Rio de Janeiro, said, “Job expansion, especially in the technology sector, provides the underpinnings for growth and opportunity in our state and in our country. GE’s investments, including the Brazil Global Research Center, are representative of the types of high-tech operations that we need to ensure that our economy continues to expand.”

GE also signed agreements with partners, universities and corporations from across Brazil to develop research collaborations. Memos of Understanding were signed with the City of Rio de Janeiro, State of Rio de Janeiro, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ/COPPE), Institute for Technical Research (IPT), Ministry of Science and Technology of the Federal Republic of Brazil, Vale and MRS Logistica. GE and Petrobras plan to sign a research MOU tomorrow at the company’s headquarters in Rio de Janeiro.

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