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General Electric likely to become top employer in Romania

General Electric likely to become top employer in Romania
11.11.2004, 00:00 4



General Electric, the world's largest company in terms of stock market capitalisation, may become Romania's number one employer with 1,000 employees, according to Bulgarian press agencies Novinite and Bulgarian News Network, which quoted The Financial Times, the British daily financial newspaper.



"GE Capital International Services (GECIS), India's largest network of back-office services is planning to expand its operations to Romania and Bulgaria over the next two years," said Novinite. The move comes at a time when General Electric has said it will sell 60% in GECIS to American investment funds Oak Hill Capital and General Atlantic Partners for 500 million dollars. General Electric will retain 40% of the company's shares and will also remain GECIS' biggest client.



General Electric representatives had declined to comment on the information by the time of going to press.



With 1,000 employees in Romania, GE Capital International Services would clearly top the ranking of American employers in Romania, ahead of the current leaders Procter & Gamble, Honeywell, Cargill and Bunge, each of which has hundreds of employees in Romania.



GE is in advanced talks to rent an office building with a total space in excess of 5,000 square metres in Bucharest's Pipera area, according to real estate market sources.



The space would become a customer relations centre, specialising in business consultancy services. The call centre will be called Business Support Center and will mainly service General Electric's European customers.



The American corporation has been involved in Romania since 1982, when its GE Energy division opened a branch in Bucharest. However, General Electric's business volumes remained low for many years compared to the transactions carried out by other American investors in Romania, such as Procter & Gamble, which has invested 35 million dollars in Romania since 1995 and employs some 500 people.



Honeywell has around 600 employees and an annual turnover of 220 million dollars. The company visibly expanded its Romanian operations in recent years and is currently scouting the market for new opportunities.



However, after the world's largest company adopted a "wait-and-see" stance towards the Romanian market over the last few years, the chairman of GE Europe, Ferdinando Beccalli, came to Bucharest in the first half of the year to lay the groundwork for expansion.



"There are no guarantees, but we will be working on it. We must make sure, though, that Romania can create the opportunities needed for investment of one billion dollars," said Beccalli during his visit.



Ferdinando Beccalli is the highest-ranking GE official ever to have visited Romania and his visit, occasioned by the meeting of General Electric's Balkans managers, was understood to be a signal of the company's rising interest in the country.



General Electric became more active late last year after becoming involved in the privatisation of Electroputere Craiova and initiating talks to form a joint venture with Turbomecanica Bucharest, the Romanian producer of aircraft parts.
adrian.mirsanu@zf.ro



 

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