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GE buys 90% stake in Converteam for $3.2 billion

March 29, 2011
GE (NYSE: GE) announced today that its Atlanta-based Energy business has entered into an agreement to acquire approximately 90 percent of Converteam, a provider of electrification and automation equipment and systems, from a controlling shareholder group ...

GE (NYSE: GE) announced today that its Atlanta-based Energy business has entered into an agreement to acquire approximately 90 percent of Converteam, a provider of electrification and automation equipment and systems, from a controlling shareholder group that includes management, Barclays Private Equity and LBO France, for approximately $3.2 billion.

Converteam's name only dates back to 2006, but the businesses it comprises go back more than a century, including such international names as Westinghouse Drives and Electric Machinery of the U.S., General Electric Company (GEC) of the U.K., Compagnie Générale d'Electricité (CGE) and Alstom of France, and Allgemeine Elektrizitäts-Gesellschaft (AEG) of Germany.

The transaction, endorsed by Converteam's management and employee representative groups, is expected to close during third quarter 2011, subject to customary closing conditions. Converteam's senior management will retain approximately a 10 percent stake in the company. GE and Converteam senior management have agreements under which GE would purchase the remaining shares in the company over the next two to five years for up to $480 million depending on time of sale and business performance.

Converteam's products and services "enable customers in a variety of industries to replace or improve mechanical processes with high-efficiency electric alternatives that deliver better reliability, less maintenance and lower emissions. Converteam's portfolio includes drives and other power electronics, advanced rotating machines, generators and controls that when integrated address three critical customer needs across a range of industries," said a GE release.

Headquartered in Massy, France, Converteam has 5,300 employees, including more than 1,600 engineers, and operates in more than 80 countries. Converteam recently announced 2010 sales of approximately $1.5 billion and EBITDA of approximately $239 million, with approximately 36 percent growth in orders versus 2009.

Details.