GE to make power, medical equipment in Russia

MOSCOW - General Electric has signed agreements with state-controlled OAO Inter RAO and Russian Technologies Corp. to produce equipment in Russia and help upgrade the country's energy and health care systems.

GE will take a 50 percent stake in a joint venture with power utility Inter RAO and Russian Technologies to assemble and sell gas-fired power generation units in the Yaroslavl region in central Russia, according to a Russian fact sheet distributed Monday. The Russian companies will hold 25 percent each in the venture, which was registered in the Netherlands this month.

The Fairfield, Conn.-based company will also hold a 50 percent stake in a separate venture with Russian Technologies to assemble and sell high-technology medical equipment. The venture will initially produce tomographic scanners, with ultrasound, X-ray equipment and MRI scanners to be added in the future.

GE, whose Russian sales exceeded $1.6 billion last year, aims to manufacture high-technology goods locally. GE, the world's biggest provider of power-generation equipment and medical-imaging equipment, began operations in Russia in the 1920s to develop electricity systems. The company has about 2,500 employees in 25 cities in Russia, it said while talks were being held earlier this year.

Russia, the world's biggest energy producer, plans to invest more than $80 billion in the next 10 years to upgrade power generation facilities and estimates more than 80 gigawatts of new thermal capacity will be built in the next 20 years, the Energy Ministry said in the fact sheet. The accord with GE will help the country meet growing demand for power equipment, according to the document.