GE Continues Its Buying Spree

As GE makes its exit from the financial and appliances sectors, it is doubling down on industrial markets, as its efforts to acquire the drilling unit of Halliburton and its two acquisitions in the power space this month demonstrate.

GE has not stopped augmenting its footprint in the power sector with its recent acquisition of Alstom’s power business. On April 4, GE Power announced it had completed the acquisition of Metem Corp., a U.S.-based provider of precision cooling hole-manufacturing technologies that it says can “enable turbine engines to function more efficiently, saving costs, increasing operation time and reducing emissions.”

By bringing the Metem cooling hole-drilling capability in house, GE says it “expects to realize supply chain efficiencies and reduce costs as it continues to strengthen its advanced, high-efficiency portfolio. GE’s HA gas turbines can achieve more than 62 percent efficiency. Achieving that level of efficiency subjects heavy-duty gas turbines to very high temperatures during operations, making metals weaker. With heavy-duty gas turbine blades operating under high temperatures and experiencing significant centrifugal stresses, turbine blade cooling is an important component of GE’s next generation of advanced gas turbines.”

At the time of the acquisition close, GE was Metem’s largest customer.

Several other acquisitions on the GE Digital side of the business have been designed to support the company’s big push into the Industrial Internet space. Most recently, on April 21 the company announced that Current, a GE company, acquired Daintree Networks, an Industrial Internet provider of building controls solutions for commercial facilities. That acquisition, according to the press release, “will enable Current to expand its building automation platform and its energy-as-a-service offering to small- and medium-size facilities through the deployment of Daintree’s open, standards-based wireless control systems.”

Such services are designed to position GE as an end-to-end energy technologies provider, from generation to consumption, as Scott Bolick, head of software strategy and product management for GE Power Digital, noted in his keynote address last week at ELECTRIC POWER.

On its April 22 first-quarter earnings call, GE pointed to the sluggish global economy as responsible for a slowdown in oil and gas markets and a 7% decline in shareholder return. However, Jeffrey Immelt noted in his CEO letter that “industrial organic revenue growth was 7%.”

—Gail Reitenbach, PhD, Editor (@GailReit, @POWERmagazine)

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