GE announces $1.4 bn investments in Saudi Arabia

GE Capital had been classified by the Treasury as requiring tougher oversight (AFP Photo/Stan Honda)
GE Capital had been classified by the Treasury as requiring tougher oversight (AFP Photo/Stan Honda)

New York (AFP) - US industrial conglomerate General Electric said Monday it would invest $1.4 billion in Saudi Arabia in support of the kingdom's recently unveiled plan to diversify the oil-dominated economy.

Jeffrey Immelt, the GE chairman and chief executive, announced a raft of strategic partnerships and initiatives, including with state oil giant Aramco, during his visit to the kingdom.

"We are a committed partner in supporting the kingdom's transformational and diversified growth, underscored by our 80 years of presence in Saudi Arabia," Immelt said in a statement.

GE said it is investing $400 million in a forging and casting facility that will supply the marine and energy industries, teaming up with Aramco and another company. The plant was expected to become operational by 2020 and create more than 2,000 new local jobs.

GE also signed a letter of understanding with the Saudi Arabian Industrial Investments Company to co-invest $1 billion in strategic sectors such as oil and gas, aviation and digital from 2017.

GE said it could invest an additional $2 billion in Saudi Arabia beginning in 2017 in those same strategic sectors.

"This strategic alliance with GE is an ideal fit to deliver on these goals, and together we will contribute to the long-term economic competitiveness and diversified growth of the Saudi economy," said Rasheed Al-Shubaili, chief executive of SAIIC, a joint venture that includes the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund and Aramco.

Immelt said the actions will create quality jobs for Saudi youth, help build a healthy chain of small and medium-sized businesses, boost exports and improve economic competitiveness.

The Connecticut-based company said the deals would support the long-term reform program, Saudi Vision 2030 plan, that the kingdom unveiled in late April to move the largest OPEC oil producer away from its decades-long dependence on oil.