Even as Connecticut awaits a decision from General Electric as to whether the company headquarters will remain in the state, GE has expanded its Connecticut footprint by acquisition. In what has been described as the largest industrial investment in the company’s history, GE has acquired the power and grid business of France-based Alstom, with a considerable presence - about 1,000 jobs - in Windsor and Bloomfield. “The acquisition of Alstom is the biggest industrial investment GE has ever made, and it’s critical to the transformation we are making in the company, the new GE website highlighting the deal, and its impact on GE, proclaims.
The sweepstakes for the GE headquarters, in Fairfield for four decades, has seen nearly a dozen governors making a pitch, but published reports indicate that of the frontrunners, Manhattan has surpassed Atlanta, with staying put the other leading possibility. There is no word on when the company anticipates making a decision, and what the impact might be on the 800 local GE jobs and area businesses, industries and organizations might be.
Just this past August, Alstom dedicated its new 100,000 square foot Clean Energy Lab in Bloomfield, a state-of-the-art research and development facility with a mission of investigating and innovating global solutions for clean power generation.
Attending that inaugural celebration were Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy, Christopher Smith, Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy at the U.S. Department of Energy, and Catherine Smith, Commissioner of the State Department of Economic and Community Development, as well as the mayor of Windsor and deputy mayor of Bloomfield, along with various officials, partners and customers.
The celebration also included a tour of the lab’s research and development projects. Employees from Alstom’s nearby Windsor, campus, where the company employs more than 1,000 people, also attended tours of the new facility.
"Alstom's expansion here in Connecticut and the establishment of their new Clean Energy Lab in Bloomfield represents another step in our state's efforts to become a leader in growing the cutting edge, green, sustainable energy jobs that will lead tomorrow's economy," Governor Malloy said in August.
GE’s acquisition of Alstom's energy business brings together two of the world's biggest manufacturers of power plant hardware and is crucial to GE's plans to increase its focus on industrial operations and shift away from finance, Reuters recently reported. The deal received regulatory approval in the U.S. and Europe earlier this fall, and included some divestment by Alstom in Europe to gain regulatory approval.
“GE and Alstom have a rich and similar history, built on engineering, innovation and technology,” the new website points out, “the acquisition of Alstom’s power & grid businesses is an important step in GE’s transformation to a Digital Industrial Company, one that is changing industry with software-defined machines and solutions that are connected, responsive and predictive.
The combination is already drawing notice in the industry. Today (Nov. 17) in Paris the company introduced its new Renewable Energy business at the European Wind Energy Association’s 2015 Annual Event. GE indicates that the new unit significantly expands GE’s wind portfolio in the wake of the recent acquisition of Alstom’s power and grid businesses.
“With the creation of our new business, GE now has one of the world’s largest renewable energy footprints, and our goal is to help drive the wind industry forward by drawing on the shared expertise of two innovative companies,” said Jérôme Pécresse, President & CEO of GE Renewable Energy.
With more than 300,000 people operating in 175 countries, GE is now described as the world’s Digital Industrial Company. As for the newly merged company’s presence in Windsor/Bloomfield and Fairfield, the website suggests “Alstom and GE presence in complementary geographies will create more opportunities for customers by increasing local presence & capabilities.”
Where the company’s headquarters will be as that evolution continues remains an open – but apparently narrowing - question.