GE to move engine plant to Canada as U.S. export financing nixed

Mon Sep 28, 2015 5:19pm EDT
 
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By David Lawder

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - General Electric Co (GE.N: Quote) said on Monday it will move production of large, gas-powered engines to Canada from Wisconsin, along with 350 jobs, to access export financing no longer available in the United States.

In its latest salvo aimed at persuading Congress to renew the U.S. Export-Import Bank's charter which expired in June, GE will invest $265 million in a new state-of-the-art manufacturing plant at a Canadian location yet to be determined.

The facility, to open in about 20 months, can be expanded to provide flexible manufacturing capacity to support other GE businesses, including engines for railroad locomotives, GE said.

In exchange for moving the production from Waukesha, Wisconsin, Export Development Canada will provide financing support for a range of future products, including some still made in the United States.

These are expected to come from GE's Water & Power, Oil & Gas and Transportation units, a GE spokeswoman said.

At the 106-year-old Waukesha plant, GE builds piston engines for power and oilfield use that run on natural gas or methane from landfills. But these engines are not typically sold with EXIM financing, so the move is more aimed at finding government export credit for other businesses, the GE spokeswoman said.

The company also acknowledged that the recent downturn in oil and gas drilling activity was a factor in the decision to end engine manufacturing in Waukesha.

The announcement stands in sharp contrast to a 2014 visit to the site by President Barack Obama, in which he touted its worker training program as "a model for the country."   Continued...

 
The logo of U.S. conglomerate General Electric is pictured at the company's site in Belfort, April 27, 2014. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler