GE Water opens new membrane factory in Hungary

At a Dec. 13 ceremony in Oroszlany, GE Water & Process Technologies, joined by the Hungarian Parliament's Speaker of the House and others, inaugurated GE's 4,100 sq. m. Multifunctional Membrane Plant, specializing in ultrafiltration solutions. The facility, a $20 million investment, is the last phase of a four-year of a $45 million investment program initiated by Zenon Environmental, acquired by GE in June 2006. The program also received a $2.5 million grant from the Hungarian government...

Dec 20th, 2006

GE marks four-year investment with inauguration of new European manufacturing facility. US$45 million investment to meet the world's growing demand for innovative water, wastewater and process solutions.

OROSZLANY, Hungary, Dec. 20, 2006 -- At a ceremony held Dec. 13 in Oroszlany, Hungary, GE Infrastructure - Water & Process Technologies, joined by the Speaker of the House for the Hungarian Parliament, Katalin Szili and others, inaugurated GE's new 4,100 square meter Multifunctional Membrane Plant, which will serve as a Center of Excellence for cutting-edge ultrafiltration membrane solutions.

The facility, an estimated US$20.8 million (HUF 4 billion) investment, is the last phase of a 4-year of a US$45+ million (HUF 9+ billion) investment program initiated by Zenon Environmental Inc., an industry-leading membrane technologies company acquired by GE in June 2006. The program also recieved support from the Hungarian government with a $2.5 million (HUF 0.5 billion) grant.

Jeff Connelly, vice president and general manager of GE Water & Process Technologies, Ambassador Robert Hage, Embassy of Canada; Philip Reeker, deputy chief of mission, Embassy of the U.S.A.; Istvan Zsirai, senior vice president, Global Manufacturing, ZENON Membrane Solution; Oroszlany Mayor Gabor Rajnai; Andrew Szonyi, president of Supervisory Board at Oroszlany Operation; and Eszter Szabo, GE Corporate Communications & PR Leader for Central and Eastern Europe also joined the ceremony.

The investment program focused on developing a European Manufacturing and Service Center for a world-class Hollow-Fibre Ultrafiltration (UF) portfolio, which includes production capacity for cutting-edge UF products, a technical resource center, sourcing & logistic center, as well as, a financial & accounting support center. The inaugurated facility is estimated to create over 50 additional jobs for the region -- raising the total number of GE employees to 450 working at the now expanded 22,600sqm production facility.

"As regulations become increasingly stringent, populations and demographics shift, and as rapid economic growth continues throughout the world, the need for innovative water technologies becomes extremely important to ensure economic prosperity and environmental health," said Jeff Connelly, Vice President and General Manager of GE Water & Process Technologies. "And as a GE growth business focused on addressing pressing environmental challenges, we see the opening of this facility as an important step forward, as it will help play a critical role in meeting the globe's growing water and wastewater treatment needs by producing reliable and cost-effective solutions for the industrial and municipal sectors. In addition, I would also like to sincerely thank the Hungarian Government for their vision, foresight and support in this venture."

"Hungary is very proud to play a significant role in addressing one of the most pressing global challenges through this particular GE investment," said Katalin Szili "It is a good example of high value added, state of the art technology activities the Hungarian Government is willing to support."

"The completion of the multifunctional membrane manufacturing plant is a milestone in the Central-European environment protection industry as it represents the world's most advanced and effective production facility in this field." said Istvan Zsirai, senior vice president, Global Manufacturing, ZENON Membrane Solution.

The award-winning membranes produced in Hungary, known as ZeeWeed, are providing superior water and wastewater treatment at plants throughout the world. ZeeWeed is increasingly selected as the best technology for producing reliable, safe drinking water; high-purity water for industrial processes; superior quality wastewater effluent that meets or exceeds the most stringent discharge standards, and for recycling wastewater into a valuable water source that can be used for irrigation and industrial processes.

The water treatment solutions produced at the facility also play an important role in GE's company-wide ecomagination initiative -- a commitment to develop innovative solutions that benefit the customers and the society at large. The ecomagination initiative recognizes that water quality and water scarcity are among the biggest challenges that the world is currently facing. Advanced membrane technology helps address these issues by producing a reliable source of safe, usable water. The ZENON membrane solutions also expands GE's broad set of water treatment solutions -- positioning the company to address an even broader range of infrastructure and environmental concerns both for the developed and emerging markets.

Since late 1989, GE has been one of the most significant multinationals successfully operating and growing in Hungary. Today all six GE core businesses are active in the country. Currently GE is the largest U.S. investor (USD 1,1+ billion since 1989) and employer (15,000+) and the third biggest exporters of Hungary, while as a customer has a key supplier base of 2000+. The company's three core businesses - Healthcare, Industrial and Infrastructure -- operate 13 plants in 11 cities. In addition, three divisions -- Healthcare, Lighting and Water -- have their technology centers in Hungary. The Central European regional headquarters of Healthcare and the regional headquarters of Consumer & Industrial Europe, Middle East and Africa are also located in the country.

GE conducts its activities in three major legal entities in Hungary. GE Hungary Zrt. employing 12,500 people generated HUF 551 billion [US$2.87 billion] turnover in 2005 with 98% export. Budapest Bank Nyrt. (GE Money Bank), is owned by GE Consumer Finance and employs 3,000 people. The bank's net assets in 2005 reached HUF 545.8 billion [US$2.85 billion], GE W&PT (ZENON) employing 400 people generated HUF 13 billion [US$67.8 million] turnover in 2005 with 90% export. GE also owns 40% of global GENPACT company, which operates GENPACT Hungary Kft. located in Budapest employing 600 people.

GE (www.ge.com) is a diversified technology, media and financial services company focused on solving some of the world's toughest problems. With products and services ranging from aircraft engines, power generation, water processing and security technology to medical imaging, business and consumer financing, media content and advanced materials, GE serves customers in more than 100 countries and employs more than 300,000 people worldwide.

GE's Water & Process Technologies, a unit of GE Infrastructure (www.geinfrastructure.com), is an industry leader in solving the world's most pressing water reuse, industrial, irrigation, municipal, and drinking water needs. Through desalination, advanced membrane, separation solutions, and water reuse and wastewater management and process technologies, GE delivers added value to its customers. By improving performance and product quality, reducing operating costs, and extending equipment life through a broad range of products and services that are designed to optimize total performance; protect customers' assets; prevent fouling and scaling; and safeguard the environment through water conservation and energy reduction.

GE Water & Process Technologies (www.gewater.com) already has 800 patents and over 500 more pending on research and development accomplishments in water, wastewater and process systems solutions. It serves industries such as beverages, chemical processing, commercial and institutional, food, general industries, hydrocarbon processing, life sciences, medical dialysis, microelectronics, mining and mineral processing, pharmaceutical, municipal, power, primary metals, residential and transport. The division's work philosophy encompasses optimizing operational performance, safeguarding operational assets and protecting the environment.

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