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GE holds out hope for Bengal

Calcutta, Sept. 3: Bengal’s industrial resurgence got a boost today, when General Electric Company (GE), the US conglomerate, indicated that the state could get a slice of $8 billion that the multinational intended to invest in this country in the near future.

Alan J. Juliano, president and CEO of GE Equipment Services (Europe & Asia), said in Calcutta today that the money would flow in the next three to four years and hoped that Bengal would get its fair share of the fund.

He met Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee at the Writers’ Buildings and gave a detailed presentation on what GE could offer to Bengal.

Juliano was leading a team of senior executives, comprising Dhananjoy Nalawade, president and CEO of GE Equipment Services, India, and Michael Hinssen, human resources director of GE Equipment Services (Europe & Asia).

The team also met Bengal industry minister Nirupam Sen, Titagarh Industries’ chairman J.P. Chowdhary and his son Umesh Chowdhary.

GE Equipment Services has invested $35 million in Bengal by picking up a 15 per cent stake in Chowdhary’s Titagarh Wagons.

“We are keen to invest in railway infrastructure, port expansion, road development, healthcare, power and drinking water,” Juliano said after meeting the chief minister.

Reports suggest Bhattacharjee is keen to have GE develop the proposed deep sea port and rail freight corridor here.

The chief minister sought GE’s help in developing the medical equipment business, and for solar and wind power generation.

Umesh Chowdhary later said GE would now come up with specific proposals in the sectors identified by the chief minister.

“The state and GE will work together in creating opportunities,” he added.

Juliano said no specific project was discussed today. “We are evaluating,” he added.

GE, with revenues of $163 billion in 2006, has 12 companies operating in India with revenues of $1.7 billion last year. It exported $1 billion worth of goods and services from India.

GE’s business in India has picked up in the last three to four years. Before that it was stagnating at around $500 million per annum.

By 2010, GE hopes its India business will reach $8 billion, or 16 per cent of the projected turnover of $50 billion expected from emerging markets.

GE’s association with India is more than a century old. The company had installed India's first hydropower plant in 1902.

Today, all of GE's global businesses have a presence in India.

The company participates in a wide range of manufacturing, services and technology businesses in the country. It employs more than 13,000 in India.

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