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GE unit makes first European water investment, in Global growth drive

AZDEL : 09 January, 2006  (Company News)
GE Energy Financial Services, a unit of General Electric, announced today that it is entering the European water market and expanding into industrial water treatment by buying a majority of the assets of Idex AQUASERVICES in France. GE Energy Financial Services is acquiring a 95 percent stake, including debt obligations, from Idex AQUASERVICES, a developer, owner and operator of facilities that purify water for the food, beverage and cosmetics industries.
Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.

The investment is the first for GE Energy Financial Services’ water team outside the United States and its first in the burgeoning market for industrial water treatment, comprising an estimated one-third of all water assets worldwide.

Idex AQUASERVICES, a Boulogne-based subsidiary of IDEX Groupe, one of France’s largest private energy and environmental services companies, owns and operates contracted, integrated groundwater extraction and treatment plants for the dairy, meat, poultry, soft drinks, food processing, canned food and cosmetics industries. UNESCO estimates that the food and agriculture sectors consume 100 times more water than individuals, illustrating the critical role of industrial water treatment operators such as Idex AQUASERVICES.

“Reinforcing GE’s broader involvement in the water industry, this transaction expands our investment focus into industrial water and Europe,” said Alex Urquhart, President and CEO of GE Energy Financial Services. Kevin McCarthy, a Managing Director and the water leader at GE Energy Financial Services, added: “With our financial capability and Idex AQUASERVICES’ world-class technical expertise to manage water assets, we are helping industrial companies free up capital for their core manufacturing, creating significant economic benefits for them.”

Alain Planchot, CEO of IDEX Groupe, added: “We decided to partner with GE Energy Financial Services because of its keen understanding of the dynamics of the global water business, its commitment to the sector, and its ability to provide our water platform the capital needed to grow. This transaction enables IDEX Groupe to raise capital for, and focus on, our core operations business, including operations and maintenance of water facilities -- while providing GE Energy Financial Services with an opportunity to expand in a growing market.”

GE Energy Financial Services’ water team offers structured equity capital and customized debt finance for existing assets and projects under development in the commercial, industrial and municipal infrastructure water, reuse and wastewater treatment markets worldwide. The Idex AQUASERVICES transaction represents the second equity investment for the GE Energy Financial Services water team.
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