October 6, 2013 / 6:06 AM / 5 years ago

GE sees 10-15 percent infrastructure growth in emerging markets

Vice Chairman of GE and CEO of GE's Global Growth and Operations John G. Rice speaks to reporters during a news conference in Mumbai May 17, 2013. REUTERS/Vivek Prakash

NUSA DUA, Indonesia (Reuters) - General Electric Co (GE.N) vice chairman John Rice said on Sunday that despite the shaky global economy, he expected the firm’s infrastructure businesses in emerging markets to post 10-15 percent growth in the next five to 10 years.

GE’s presence in most parts of the global economy, including energy, finance, manufacturing and transportation, makes it an indicator of macroeconomic trends.

China, GE’s biggest single market for infrastructure outside of the United States, would continue to have “healthy double digit” growth in the coming years, having grown some 15 to 20 percent growth in recent times, said Rice on the sidelines of an Asia-Pacific leaders summit in Bali, Indonesia.

Shrugging off the impact of the U.S. government shutdown on GE’s businesses, Rice remained bullish on GE’s renewed focus on core infrastructure areas including oil & gas, power generation, aviation, healthcare and transportation.

“In the mid-to-long term the demand for infrastructure is going to be as acute as ever,” Rice told Reuters at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) conference, where a key theme is sustaining the region as an engine for global growth.

“We see significant double digit growth ... in what we call growth markets. We think we should see 10-15 percent growth,” said Rice of this projection for its composite infrastructure businesses in markets outside of the U.S. and Europe.

He noted, however, that the financing of infrastructure projects by banks was getting more complicated amid greater economic uncertainty, including concerns the U.S. Federal Reserve will soon begin reducing its stimulus that has already weakened some Asian currencies like the Indonesian rupiah.

“When you have the currency swings you have to be even better in connecting capital to infrastructure projects,” said Rice.

The oil and gas equipment business was also singled out as one of GE’s key growth areas, signaling the importance of energy to the conglomerate as it retreats from finance and returns to its industrial roots.

Reporting by James Pomfret; Editing by Michael Perry

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