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GE Energy has been doing business in the region since the 1930s. Utilities Middle East met Joe Anis, the division’s Middle East president, to find out what is driving business.
Governments across the Middle East are busying themselves building a state-of-the-art utilities infrastructure, or are simply racing to keep up with demand for power and water, and few companies are as well positioned to cater to this as GE.
The numbers speak for themselves. In the past two years, GE Energy, responsible for the firm’s power, water, and oil and gas business, has secured projects worth over US$11 billion in the region.
The division benefits from a diverse portfolio that encompasses power generation equipment, smart grid components, water treatment and servicing.
Joe Anis, GE Energy’s president in the Middle East, is optimistic that business will remain brisk. He bases his optimism on the prediction that demand for power will double, and demand for water triple, over the next 10 years.
“Its exciting to see the figures here in the region, I’d say on average [yearly] demand growth is probably around seven to eight percent.”
Anis is reluctant to list favourites, but says that the orderbook in countries such as Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, Egypt and Iraq has been strong.
Iraq, with its need to rebuilt its infrastructure after decades of war and sanctions, has contributed handsomely to GE Energy’s bottom line. (See case study)
Business growth is linked to a strong economy. In the post-recession environment, in which many economies are struggling to regain momentum, the Middle East has thus gained in importance.
“When you look around the world, you look at this multi-speed environment, you can see that in parts of the world GDP is flat or only growing slightly, and there are parts of the world where we see more traction, and certainly the Middle East is an area we see good growth prospects,” says Anis.
A wide-ranging product offering apart, the company’s sales have also benefitted from the additional services it provides to its customers. Notably, the firm’s financial arm can offer government utilities and private companies help in gaining access to project finance.