CHAKAN, India (Reuters) - General Electric Co will use its new manufacturing facility in India, which was formally inaugurated on Saturday, as an export hub, with plans to send half of its output to the conglomerate's global factories.
The 67-acre plant in Chakan, near the western city of Pune, is GE's first multi-purpose manufacturing facility in India, which will produce a range of products that will include aviation, rail and diesel engines.
It will also be a major part of GE's plan to win increased domestic orders, the U.S. company said at inauguration, which was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The GE plant dovetails with the government's push to turn the country into a manufacturing hub with its "Make in India" initiative.
GE Vice Chairman John Rice told Reuters in an interview that the U.S. conglomerate had spent a total of $200 million on the facility but declined to give other specifics, including how much it will produce.
Rice said GE was keen to expand further in India, and was eyeing opportunities in the government's planned railway modernization program. He also noted that the country's renewable energy sector was beginning to become attractive.
"From an orders and revenue perspective, I still think we're playing below our weight," Rice told Reuters, regarding its India business.
Turning to GE's global businesses, Rice reiterated that the oil and gas division's forecast that revenues would stay flat or fall up to 5 percent this year as the steep drop in crude oil prices forces customers to cut back on spending, especially in work associated with fracking.
But he said some longer-term projects were moving forward as planned.
"We will always be vigilant in terms of the oil and gas space and what might be of good value", Rice said, referring to the company's history of investing through what he described as the tough part of economic cycles.
Editing by Jane Merriman