GE planning bigger local investment

Construction News

Energy, water, health care the main focus

General Electric (GE), the world’s leading industrial conglomerate, is eyeing more investments in energy, water and health care businesses in Thailand as it aims to increase Asean revenue by two to three times the regional economic growth in five years.

The Thai government’s priorities in infrastructure investments fit well with GE’s ongoing focus in Thailand as one of the most significant and important market in the region, said John Rice, vice-chairman, president and chief executive of GE Technology Infrastructure.

However, he noted that it was vital for the kingdom to continue consistent and clear rules and regulations and maintain a level playing field for all players. Also, progressive investment policies should be in place to keep Thailand attractive in the eyes of international companies, especially when compared with others in the region, he added.

“Our ongoing focuses to grow the business in Thailand are energy, clean water and health care which are basic human needs,” Mr Rice said during a visit to Thailand yesterday. “Asean is a region where the standard of living is improving and should continue to improve.”

GE last month formed a partnership with Pro Ventum International, the leading German wind farm developer, to jointly develop a 90-megawatt wind farm in Chaiyaphum as one of the largest of its kind in Asean.

The US-based company is currently in talks with developers and the Energy Ministry about its new renewable project in Thailand, thanks to the government’s “smart policy” to promote renewable energy that makes the country the most advanced in renewable energy investment in the region.

For health care, GE has been seeking approval from the Thai authorities to introduce its new technologies at a more affordable cost to consumers.

GE’s aviation business has also been active in the Thai market. Its environmentally friendly GE90 engine is equipped in Boeing 777 aircraft which Thai Airways International has just ordered eight more to expand its fleet.

Stuart Dean, the president of GE Asean, said business in the region has started to show “significant growth” in the third quarter after reporting flat growth in the past 12 months.

“We are growing more than the GDP (gross domestic product) in the region,” said Mr Dean, adding that the region should be able to meet GE’s global target to grow multiple times of the GDP in five years.

Mr Rice said the Map Ta Phut issue had not significantly affected GE’s decision to invest more in Thailand.

“As a global company, we have seen occasional bumps in the road that things won’t work the way we want them to work,” he said.

“It doesn’t bother us. We are here for a long term and still have great confidence that this small situation has to be eventually resolved and the investment climate will be favourable for us.”


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