GE said the Power Conversion business will help it maximize its expertise and expand its presence in the energy efficiency, electrification and automation sector, which is valued at $30 billion and growing above global GDP. The industrial giant said the purchase allows it to scale its business and deliver new products to market faster than its competitors.
Converteam’s technologies include high-efficiency power electronics, motors and generators.
According to GE, large industrial companies have got onboard with the “mega-trend” of electrification – replacing mechanical processes with high-efficiency, customized electric alternatives that deliver better reliability, require less maintenance and create lower emissions. The company expects electrification to double over the next 20 years, driven in large part by the oil and gas industry, which is using electrical systems to extract and transport natural gas more efficiently.
Power Conversion products could help improve industrial energy efficiency by 30 percent, GE said. Together with GE’s Industrial Solutions business, it will address all steps in the energy conversion chain with a portfolio built around rotating machines, power electronics, wind converters, solar inverters and process control technologies.
About 25 percent of electricity produced globally is used to power electric motors in a wide range of industrial applications, GE said. It expects the fastest industrial automation growth to take place in Brazil, Russia, India and China and the Middle East.
GE acquired Converteam in September 2011 for $3.2 billion, although it originally announced the purchase of a 90 percent stake back in March. At the time it said that Converteam senior management would retain about ten percent equity in the company for the short term, but had entered into an agreement to sell their shares to GE over the next two to five years, with the price expected to be no greater than $480 million.
Before its purchase, Converteam operated across six key vertical sectors: offshore and onshore oil and gas, power generation, wind and solar renewables, industrial, marine, and services.
GE says this is the latest in about $11 billion of acquisitions that have expanded GE Energy’s portfolio beyond the power generation sector into critical industries that rely on cleaner, more efficient energy.